Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This past weekend was filled with wedding festivities. My dear cousin Ashley got married and Layla and Julius were both in the wedding. They did a good job walking down the isle and being quiet during the ceremony. Later, Layla really tore it up on the dance floor! There were many times she was the only one out there. Julius danced too and tried his hand at the "Cupid's Shuffle." He did pretty good if you ask me!
Layla asked at the reception if Ashley had a baby in her belly now that she was married. Kids are so literal! We have had to have many talks about the order of marriage and childbirth.
Overall, we had a great time. It was wonderful seeing our relatives from out of town. The kids had a blast playing with their cousins and the wedding was beautiful. Ashley was a gorgeous bride! Congratulations Ashley and Gary! We wish you the happiest and best of marriages!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I always hate this transition. I don't like to hear babies cry. Not even stranger babies in the grocery store, let alone my own flesh and blood. It gets me all in a panic. But I also know that a few tough days of sticking it out will result in much smoother nap and bedtimes. So yesterday we let the crying begin!
I use a technique suggested by my BFF from high school. Some brilliant guy coined the technique, but I can't for the life of me remember his name(sorry brilliant guy). I just know that you lay your baby down and reassure him that you love him and it is "nigh-nigh" time. You leave the room and check the clock. You do everything possible to distract yourself the next five minutes. Do not even think of re-entering that room until five minutes have past.
If after 5 minutes your little lovely is still hollering, then go back, rub his belly and reassure him that you love him. Leave the room and check the clock. Now you get really busy distracting yourself because 10 minutes feels like an eternity if your baby cakes is screaming. Most babes give up and fall asleep during this time, but if yours are especially stubborn, like mine, you may need to repeat and stay out of the room for 15 minutes. If needed, repeat for 20 minutes.
So my nerves are a little rattled from the screams and cries of the past two days, but improvements are being made. Gunnar is a touch spoiled and a mama's boy, so he's heart broken that his mama is making him fall asleep all by himself! Poor kiddo.
For you stellar parents out there who never got into the habit of rocking your baby to sleep, I congratulate you on your will power. I'm a softy when it comes to sleeping babes, plus it can be quite peaceful escaping to the nursery to sit down for a few minutes and rock in my nice rocking chair with a cozy bundle in my arms! So I enjoyed my fun while it lasted, and now it is time to toughen up.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This bread is great for beginners because it requires no kneading and seems pretty fail proof. It makes two nice size loaves, so plan on sharing one if your household is small. It tastes great fresh from the oven and makes fabulous toast with a little butter and a smear of jam. It think you are going to like it!
Old Fashioned Oatmeal Breadfrom Homesick Texan
2 cups of boiling milk
1 cup of oats, rolled or steel cut (not instant)
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of honey
4 tablespoons of shortening
5-5 1/2 cups of flour
2 packets of yeast
1/2 cup of warm water
1. Add oatmeal to hot milk and let stand for two hours.
2. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
3. Mix yeast and other ingredients with oatmeal (start with five cups of flour and add more a little bit at a time until dough is smooth).
4. Form into loaves, and either fill two loaf pans or place in balls on a parchment-paper lined sheet.
5. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Go ahead and make it. You know you want to!
Peaches and Cream Piefrom Recipe Zaar
1¼ hours | 15 min prep
- 3 cups fresh peeled and chopped peaches
- 1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie pastry (pie pastry recipe below)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs , beaten
- 1/2 cup sour cream(I substituted coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup butter
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Place 3 cups fresh peaches into pie pastry.
- In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and salt.
- Add eggs and sour cream.
- Blend well.
- Spoon mixture over peaches.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- A pastry blender works well, but a fork will also work.
- Sprinkle meal mixture evenly over pie.
- Bake 60 minutes or until golden.
Nice and Flaky Single Pie Crust Recipe
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ice cold water
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Talking with Nate on his lunch hour, I fought back tears. I was frustrated and overwhelmed. I hadn't had school time with the kids. I had pots of peeled tomatoes waiting to be made into chili and spaghetti sauce, and peaches lining the counters collecting an obnoxious amount of fruit flies. I was tired of trying to keep Layla away from Julius and Gunnar until we could figure out her mystery rash. The house was a mess and we had a 4:00 appointment with a realtor followed by an evening Bible study at church.
We cancelled the 4:00 appointment. I called a few ladies from church to let them know about Layla and that I wouldn't be attending. With many pleas to the Lord for help and patience I hobbled my way through school time, dinner, story time and bedtime. Just before heading to bed I decided to fold the clothes in the dryer. I opened the dryer door to discover ink all over. Oh boy, what a bedtime surprise.
As I took my shower that night I remembered my neighbor who just lost his wife and immediately my day took a new perspective. Compared to his recent days, my day was wonderful. I got to be home with my kids, teach them, preserve healthy and affordable food for my family, and learn a few things about rashes, hives, bug bites, etc. on Web MD. So what if Layla did end up with the chicken pox and so what if she spread it to the other kids. My children are alive and healthy, rashes and all.
It turns out Layla does not have chicken pox. Her mysterious rash disappeared by today. The tomatoes and peaches are all preserved and in the freezer. We successfully completed our first week of homeschooling, Nate cleaned the ink out of the dryer with nail polish remover, and hairspray is taking out some of the ink from our clothes. All that fussing, pouting, worrying and whining was all for nothing.
A few verses that I will be concentrating on next time I have "one of those days":
2 Corinthians 10:5
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40: 29-31
"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22, 23
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The Best Granola Recipe
6 cups of rolled or steel cut oats
3 cups of nuts (your choice, we like sliced almonds)
1 cup of wheat bran
1 cup flax seed meal
2 cups coconut
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper. In your biggest bowl mix together oats, nuts, wheat bran, flax seed meal, coconut and cinnamon. In a sauce pan combine remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until all ingredients are melted and mixed together. Remove from heat. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients. Mix until all of oat mixture is wet. Spread over cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir granola well. Return to oven for another 10 minutes or more. Just be careful not to burn. Allow granola to cool. Store in an airtight container for a few weeks. Don't worry, it won't last that long!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I felt the same way the other day when I made a batch of pita bread. For some reason I had built up the process in my mind that it was going to be tough and tedious to make them. When I finished, I thought "that was easy" and made a commitment to make them more often.
There are many challenges we face today, regarding food and nutrition. Society tells us that we shouldn't spend more than 15 minutes ever in the kitchen. We are told that cooking and baking is hard and that you need all kinds of fancy equipment and special ingredients to make anything of value. We are told that it is easier, cheaper and better to buy our meals already prepared for us. We are told that we are too busy to take the time to prepare things ourselves. I know this because I believed these things for quite some time. Only did changes in circumstances and information lead me to change.
The truth is that it is valuable to spend time in the kitchen. You can prepare wonderful food with very little equipment and very basic ingredients. Preparing your own food saves you money and saves your health by limiting your intake of processed foods. Your time in the kitchen is beneficial to your health, your family and your wallet.
So here's the challenge. Find just one item in your diet that you normally buy and make it yourself. Just pick one for now. You can always add another in time once you have formed a new habit with the first one. A few possibilities could be bread, jam, salsa, pancakes, soup or broth. Mine for now is pita bread. You can make it yours too if you want. It's easy peasy, great tasting and sure beats the store-bought ones. You know, the kind with a long list of unpronounceable ingredients.
So here's the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs. Go ahead and give it a try. I think you'll be happy you did:)
Great Homemade Pitasfrom Under the High Chair
1 tablespoon yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
3- 3 ½ cups flour
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into six pieces for large pitas or ten for smaller. I make all sorts of sizes to suit different snacks and meals. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin into ¼ inch thick discs. Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them ‘puff’.
Let rest on the floured surface 30-40 minutes until slightly puffed.
Preheat oven to 425F.
With a large spatula, flip the rounds of dough upside down on to a baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until light golden. Stick around for the first five minutes of baking when the pitas perform their magic and puff up from flat pancakes to proud, four inch high pitas.
These store for up to two days well wrapped or frozen for three weeks.Stuff with your favorite ingredients. Ours is hummus. You can find it here. Enjoy! Let me know how your new habits are going!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
"No one can think deeply about the issue investigated in this book without sensing the possible approach of a crisis in Western civilization of a kind that is not being publicly anticipated. For, nuclear disaster apart, increasing mass-education, alongside increasing material well-being and accelerating pursuit of it, is going to make secularism consciously and articulately secularist. And this turn will challenge Christians to be more consciously and articulately Christian. The question is, will the Christians of the next fifty years, over and against strengthened secularism, deepen and clarify their Christian commitment in a withdrawn cultivation of personal morality and spirituality, thereby achieving the kind of uneasy co-existence of Church and State? Or will the Christian of the next fifty years deepen and clarify their Christian commitment at the intellectual and social levels too, meeting and challenging not only secularism's assault on personal morality and life of the soul, but also secularism's truncated and perverted view of the meaning of life and the purpose of social order?"
"This is a worrying matter; for the present climate of opinion makes it impossible to avoid taking these steps without opening oneself to charges of "bigotry", "dogmatism", "doctrinaire intolerance", and without incurring that most crushing of all contemporary smears - that one is being "holier-than-thou". It is scarcely surprising that we have taken many steps already towards withdrawn and departmentalized Christian spirituality severed from contemporary culture by the drugged inoperancy of the Christian mind. We shall take more such steps, under the influence of that habit of settling down quietly, if sometimes uncomfortably, with social corruptions and intellectual perversions which cannot be touched or condemned because good men and fellow-Christians are involved running or promulgating them, or because the political party which we support as a bulwark against tyranny and materialism has instructed us that these things are all right."
"The time has come at which Christians must take the initiative in order to avoid being outmaneuvered. What is demanded of us by the voice of the Church, if properly understood, is likewise dictated by tactical and prudential considerations. In short, it is better to define, establish, and nourish a Christian mind in freedom now, as a positive last effort to bring light and hope to our culture and our civilization, than to have to try and gather together the miserable fragments of Christian consciousness after triumphant secularism has finally bulldozed its way through the Church, as a body of thinking men and women."
So I challenge you to think about all areas of your life, especially those areas that don't seem that important, and evaluate whether you are thinking about them with a true Christian mind or in terms that the world has defined for you.