Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Recipe: Maple Mousse (and our Winner!)

This past weekend was a busy one for us.  Well, not the entire weekend, Saturday.  Saturday was a busy day.  I've been trying hard not to over schedule us these weekends; to make sure we have at least one down-day because if we don't we all seem to get a little overwhelmed and cranky.  And by "we all" I mean, mostly me.

Saturday morning started with Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and an egg hunt at church.  We got there a little later than we have in the past so we didn't have time to do any of the crafts, but the boys got their pictures with Mr. E. Bunny and we all had pancakes and sausage for breakfast.  I'm looking forward to seeing that picture...Nolan, hahaha, Nolan HATED the Easter Bunny.  

After the egg hunt we ran home to get into play clothes and then headed east to visit our friends, Kelly & Neil, at Drewry Farms in Plymouth (Ohhhh!  Kelly, I'm so excited to see I can order online!!) because guess what time it is??  Maple syrup time!!

Here are a few pictures from our weekend....





























What?

What's the matter?

Oh, you can't see any of the pictures??

That's because my camera died the second I turned it on at Breakfast with the Easter Bunny! Grrrrr.

I do, however, have this gem of Hutton playing in the mud puddle at the maple farm.


The boys had the Best Day at the farm - mud puddles, snow banks, chickens, tractor rides.  Can you say 'straight to these boys' hearts?'  

I took this one especially for Uncle Josh, who was waiting to see the mud puddle splashing.  (In addition to Kelly & Neil & Little C we also got to see April & Josh & Baby C! - Best Day indeed!) The boys were soaked from the waist down, but they had fun.

A new batch of maple syrup meant one thing - new recipes to try.  I found this one for Maple Mousse in our Organic Gardening magazine - the instant I saw it I tore the page out; I knew what would be for dessert Sunday night.


I've been trying a lot of new recipes lately and a lot of them have been really good.  With all these new recipes Collin is forming the "Perfect Meal"  - we've only got a few things in our "Perfect Meal" so far, but this, this maple mousse?  It made the list.  Maple Mousse is officially the dessert portion of our Perfect Meal.  It's rich, you only need a little (I made these in little kids glasses), but it is Oh. So. Good.

*****

Last, but surely not least, we have a Winner!!! (PS, yeah, I'm closing guessing just a bit early because I'm ready to post this)

The correct answer to the number of sixlets in the bowl was 242

And our winner is....

Tanya

Woo!  Tanya, I'll touch base with you - we're going to be downtown tomorrow and I might just drop this off at work for you :)

That guessing game was so much fun for me - I believe the winners changed 3 times throughout the guesses. I'm looking forward to the next one, which would be.....what would it be?  4th of July??  Oh man, too long until another holiday.

I've decided to take tomorrow off to spend with the boys so for the next two days we're going to do a little Spring Breaking.  Hope you are all having a good week!



Monday, March 25, 2013

The Easter Table (and a Holiday Guessing Game!)


I have a confession to make.  Up until this past weekend our house has still been decorated with snowmen.  Our front door entry way is still winteresque.  It's been hard to even think about spring in these parts when we have at least (At Least!) 14 inches of snow on the ground.  But this coming weekend is Easter and we're having Collin's family over to celebrate, so it was time to de-winterize.


I  wasn't sure if I could get in the spirit of spring with our lawn still covered in a layer of white, but I was wrong.  Oh!  This table is making me so happy. On further inspection, we weren't able to save our Easter/Spring decorations after all.  With the exception of two strings of garland, they were covered in mold and had to be thrown away.  The majority of the items on our table came from a PartyLite party I had earlier this year.  Amanda was our consultant and I had a rather great time that night (there might have been wine involved.) As soon as I opened the catalog I knew what I would be purchasing.  I just loved this whole set!


But those two little bunnies up there?  They are making me the happiest.  I love them with all of my heart.  They are ceramic and covered in a soft fuzz.  They probably aren't something I would have picked out in a store but I love them because they came from Collin's Grandma Kono.  Hutton and Papa went to visit her one afternoon and Hutty brought them home - I remember doing the same with my great-grandma; visiting her and bringing trinkets home.  If I'm not mistaken, the sniffer has been deemed Keaton's (Benjamin Bunny) and the waver is Hutton's (Peter Rabbit).


Of course I'm not here JUST to tell you about my dining room table.  It's Easter Time!  And you know what that means!  A guessing game!!  

Here we go....I got these sixlets on our Girls Winter Amish trip and have been dying to put them out.  They are just so pretty.  



The first person to correctly guess the number of sixlets in the bowl will win one of these Partylite Song Bird Tealight Holders AND a dozen tealights (scent: Herbs de Provence)


In the event of a tie (which means you can guess the same # as someone else, that is okay) we will use the very formal, pull a name out of the hat.  Here's the kicker, Easter is just six days away and I'd like for you to have this before the holiday, so guessing will need to close at 8 am on Wednesday morning.  Also, feel free to guess through Twitter or Facebook - I will check both of those.  

Okay, Happy Guessing - I can't wait to send this to one of you!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Recipe: Clean Whole Wheat Pancakes

It's been quiet around here this week.  I've had some things on the to-do list that had. to. get. done. I banned myself from the computer until they were crossed off.  I also fell asleep more than once putting children to bed at night.

In an effort to remove processed foods and refined sugar from our diet I've been searching and searching for a clean whole wheat pancake recipe.  My first few attempts led to these:

Whole wheat banana pancakes
Whole wheat waffles

Both of these get rave reviews in this house.  Keaton and Collin are particularly fond of the banana pancakes.

On Wednesday morning, when Keaton asked for pancakes for breakfast, I sat down at my computer thinking, this can not be this hard.

"Clean whole wheat pancakes" I stuck into the search engine.

It populated hit after hit, but every link I opened called for canola oil.  I stared at the screen in confusion.  Canola oil is one of the top ingredients I'm looking to avoid.

The boys were getting squirrely and Nolan had started to whine from his high chair.  I was about ready to just dig out the canola oil when in one last ditch effort I Googled:

"whole wheat pancakes made with applesauce and honey"

(I'm out of breath just typing that)

And Ta Da!!

Honey Flax seed Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes

(Seriously, I had no idea we had to be so specific with the ingredient list)

A quick scan of the ingredients and I sent this one to the printer, hoping it would be a winner.

(Note: I used all whole-wheat flour, not half and half, because I always forget that I do have just a tad bit of white flour left in my pantry. I also used regular applesauce and added some ground cinnamon to the batter.)

(Note 2: While the recipe is labeled pancakes the directions talk about your waffle iron - I made pancakes. The batter is kind of thick, when you pour it on your pan just use a spoon to spread it out a little)




I'm happy to report, these were a hit.  Collin said he still likes the Banana pancakes better, but I'd put these first.

Happy weekend, everyone!

(Go make some pancakes!)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leprechaun Tracks


Our few (saved!) decorations

Making Leprechaun Traps

The Celebration

"Mom! Look! There's tracks heading out to the woods"

They had just finished checking their traps.  No leprechauns this year - but he was here.  Oh, he was here.  The boys had handfuls of gold (chocolate) to prove it.  They were convinced he was hiding in the wood pile but after close examination realized he was gone.  

They were standing at the patio door wistfully staring at the yard when Keaton noticed the tracks.  Collin and I have seen them before, they come from the tree line right up to the back of the house - it looks as if they enter through the wood room door before turning around and heading back out to the woods.  It was perfect timing that the boys would first see them yesterday. We're pretty sure they are of the Peter Rabbit variety, but to the boys there was no doubt, they were leprechaun tracks.

We decked out in green, ate corned beef and cabbage, and finished the day with a shamrock shake for all.  Even the baby.  Who promptly declared Shamrock Shakes the Best. Thing. Ever. (evidenced by the smacking of his lips)  (He's a smart child)

As for that leprechaun, well, next year.

Hope you all had a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sunrise


I stood at my office window, coffee cup in hand, and thought: well, that was disappointing.

But something told me to go out on the front stoop and take a picture anyway.  The moment I pulled the camera back to look at the screen I remembered a conversation I had with a co-worker many years ago.  He had just learned I had grown up in Illinois and without skipping a beat made the obligatory comment, Ugh, that is the flattest, most boring state to drive through.

"I disagree," I told him.  I had probably just come back from a weekend down there, the landscape still vivid in my mind.  "The rows and rows of golden corn stalks stretching as far as the eye can see.  The very slight dips in the land showing off a farm house pocketed every so often, the backdrop of a blue as the ocean sky - it might not be what you typically call beautiful, a mountain scene or looking into the ocean, but it's still pretty in its own right."

Months later he came up to my desk and thanked me for that conversation.  He had just taken a trip down I-39 and he told me, "I saw it differently this time.  I see what you mean."

This morning's sunrise might not have been the brilliant orange glow erupting from behind the trees, but as I looked at the screen seconds after snapping the picture I realized, it's still beautiful in its own right.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nolan's first tastes: cereal & veggie

No one got both questions to our guessing game correct, but one person did get the right veggie - peas - so, big congrats to....

Sarah

Woo hoo!  Sarah, I put your package in the mail today and I'm hoping it will reach you by Saturday, but it's possible it won't be there until Monday. Boo.

Sooooo, Nolan's first veggie, it was peas and the correct answer to his reaction?  He hated them.  He still hates them.  He's all, what is this you're trying to pull, woman?  every time I give them to him. But why am I still talking, I have pictures to prove it.

But before we get to the peas, lets take a look at his first taste of cereal.  Now cereal, this is something he can get behind.


I had two big helpers the first night Nolan tried cereal.  Hutton is my wing-man these days.  In fact just the other day Keaton needed help with something while I was in the middle of feeding N breakfast and as I got up off my seat I said, Hutt, can you go feed Nolan? And he jumped right up there and took care of business.


Cereal, it does a body good.  Nolan approves.


However, I think the cereal might have set the bar too high for the first taste of veggies.  Maybe I should have picked a different one, he loooooves, big puffy heart, squash and yams, but the peas.....


What in the bloody heeeeellllllll?????  Why are you feeding me poop on a spoon??????

We were all able to collect ourselves (red blood-shot eyes and all) and a big spoonful of cereal to wash that stuff down helped out tons.


Enough to get us (tentatively) excited about trying another bite.....


Here it is, here it is, here it is.......I'm thinking about it, I'm thinking about it, I'm thinking about it.......OMG, why???  WHY???


(I especially like that last picture.)


Don't let this smile fool you, Nolan says peas can rot in hell.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear Nolan: 10 months


Dear Nolan,

Last week you turned 10 months old.  I catch glimpses of the two of us in the mirror these days and it always startles me at just how BIG you look.  Long, you look so long; your legs stretching below my hips.  You look kind of like a Little Boy and nothing like a Baby.  Oh sweet child, why did you have to go and grow so quickly? Why do these days have to fly by at the speed of light?  It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were rushing to the hospital, so excited to finally get to meet you.  And here I am, ordering decorations and thank-you gifts for your 1st Birthday party, which is right around the corner. 


This has been one of my favorite months with you as we’ve seen your personality emerge. It was during this month that you became One Of Them. Up until this point I’ve felt like we’ve had 2 little boys and a baby.  Oh, hohoho, that is no longer.  Three boys.  We have three boys.  I know we’ve got a ways to go before you’re completely interacting and playing with your big brothers, but this month it started. Your bedroom is a frequent play area for the three of you; you got some building blocks for Christmas and your brothers like to build towers and you like to knock down towers (they like to knock them down too, but you usually beat them to it, which commences the “he’s just a baby” talk). I had a discussion a couple of months ago with someone that also has three boys close in age – he was telling me that the oldest two wrestle, fight, play hard constantly and that the third just kind of hangs back and stays out of it.  I remember nodding my head and telling him, yes, I could see this with ours.  Hahaha, that was a funny statement, and so entirely WRONG!  You suddenly have an opinion – a very strong opinion.  The other day Hutton was playing with a toy hammer in your room and put it down to pick up his board and nail, when he came back you had taken the hammer.  “That’s my hammer” he said to you as he took it out of your hands. He didn’t even have it all the way out when you started squawking; you were so mad at him.  I looked at Hutt and said – he’s mad at you for taking that hammer!  He nicely gave it back to you but you were going to let him know the injustice of it all.  Hutt looked up to me with doe eyes and said “I gave it back and he’s still mad!” Oh yes, Baby Boy, you’re in the midst of it all now.


This month you have perfected the cruising along furniture and the window sill, you can now climb stairs (quite quickly I might add – we don’t have accessible stairs for you so when you Daddy told me you were doing them at Busha’s I thought, hmmm….I set you down by the basement stairs and you didn’t even look back, climbed them all in 30 seconds flat) and have started to stand for short periods of time.  But my most favorite thing you started this month is the clapping.  Oh boy, I forgot how adorable it is to watch a baby clap.  It does not matter what kind of mood I am in, the second you start I can’t help but smile and say Yay! as I clap along with you.  You clap everywhere, in the highchair, playing of the floor, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT – and yes, even in the middle of the night it is cute.



This has been an interesting month with you regarding food and eating.  I distinctly remember the difficulties I had nursing with both of your brothers around the 9-month age – they were constantly distracted and it was so frustrating. I was anticipating this with you but it never happened.  Oddly enough, our difficulties have been more with my supply and your impatience.  Combine that with your refusal to eat purees in the beginning part of the month and I was worried you weren’t getting enough calories.  I remember dramatically putting your bowl and spoon down after another dinner you refused to eat and telling your Dad, I don’t know what to do with him!  I noticed, however, that you would eat puffs all night long so I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out what was going on, but, well, it did: you were ready for table food.  And so we went from a limited number of purees to adding new items at every meal – chicken and turkey are your favorite but you also like kiwi, oranges, and bread. Oh and guess what?  As soon as we started giving you finger foods you started eating your purees again.  In addition to your table food, new food this month included cauliflower, potatoes, asparagus, apples, and pears.  And it seems all of this has paid off as today we unofficially weighed you at home and you came in over 18 pounds – over a pound more than last month.


At 10 months you love playing in the curtains, banging on glass (patio doors, windows, and the shower door are your favorite), petting the dog and pulling on electrical cords.  You’re not a fan of sitting still during diaper or clothing changes, eating green vegetables, or being pulled away from those electrical cords.  You are still wearing size 3 diapers (size 2 in cloth) and 6-9 month clothes but pulling out the 12-month tote is on the to-do list.  You sleep in your crib until about 1 or 2 am and then you join us for the remainder of the night. Oh, and this month you went from two teeth to six teeth seemingly overnight (four middle uppers all came at once).  And you are a total Mama’s Boy.  I’m okay with that last one.  I’m so looking forward to this next month with you, Baby Boy.



I love you,
Mama

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Green and Shamrocks (and a holiday guessing game!)

This may (or may not) look familiar. 


Here, let me see if I can find the old post.....

Ah yes, here it is.

I bought this Celtic Love Knot warmer from Scentsy back in 2011.  I loved this thing.  It was my one holiday purchase for the year.  

The night of the fire, as soon as the flames were under control, the firefighters stormed our spare bedroom - it was the one and only room that was accessible - (the door had been closed in that room so no flames made it in there) and started pulling out anything and everything.  At the time I remember kind of throwing things to the side and thinking - don't bother, it's ruined, it's all gone, but I distinctly remember the chief telling me more than once, we'll pull everything out possible, you'll be surprised how much little things mean to you when you have nothing.

It has taken us over a year to start going through those boxes. Partially because we've just been so busy this past year and partially because up until now the emotions have still been too raw.  But over the last few weeks Collin has been bringing boxes in and I have been so excited to find that the majority of our holiday decorations (with the exception of Christmas because those were upstairs) were saved.  And guess what, that chief was right.  As silly as it may seem, they're holiday decorations!, I'm so happy to have these little bits of us back.  

Last weekend we took down all of the red and hearts and replaced them with green and shamrocks and that Scentsy warmer?  It's still my favorite.  


St. Patrick's Day is coming up quick and the boys got busy making their Leprechaun traps this weekend so I think it is high time for a holiday guessing game.

I've been having a hard time deciding what to have you guys guess but I was going through pictures tonight and see I never did officially document Nolan's first cereal and vegetable so in order to force me to do that, here are the questions:

What was Nolan's first veggie AND what was his reaction?

First person to correctly answer both of these questions will get one of these little signs:


I'm pretty sure I've given away the answer to both of these questions in previous posts, but just because I love you guys - I'll give you another hint:


I'll be heading to the post office on Wednesday - happy guessing!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bloom

February 15th

February 18th

February 22nd

February 25th

February 28th

March 1st

March 2nd


***
It took a little time and patience, but that little bud sure did turn into something beautiful, didn't it?  These pictures are speaking to me this morning in a way I was not expecting.  I've had something weighing heavy on my mind and heart these past few days and looking at these pictures I'm realizing if I give myself a little time and patience, and maybe a little room to grow, I can be the person I want to be.

***
Flu update: Keaton and Nolan seem to have turned the corner.  Hutty threw up in bed late last night and spent the night on the couch with me (first half) and a sick Collin (second half).  Everyone seems pretty good today; I feel like a ticking time-bomb.

***
Happy weekend, everyone!





Wednesday, March 6, 2013

workin' on it





I do this all the time, I say I’m going to post something and then I don’t actually do it.  I really did have good intentions of putting the pictures of the new house up this week but, well, I haven’t actually taken all the pictures yet.  I thought I’d have a chance to do that today; I also thought I was going to do our taxes today and get caught up on laundry.  Instead, today had other plans.  Last night really, it started around 4 pm when Keaton was complaining of a stomach ache.  By the time Collin pulled in the driveway he was covered in puke, the car seat was covered in puke, all the crap on the floor of the car was covered in puke.  (Pro tip: if you keep your car looking like a pigsty the upside is the puke doesn’t actually hit your upholstered floor.  Bonus!)

Instead of getting things done today, we had a sick day.  Keaton spent the majority of the day on the couch, recuperating and he seems to be pulling through – we haven’t had any more puke or diarrhea since last night.

Every single one of us took a nap today and I was hoping the afternoon would be looking up.  Hahaha….10 minutes after 3:00 Collin woke me up; he was holding a baby out to me, a baby who had just thrown up on him.  As I was holding Nolan he vomited again, all over me.  I changed shirts only to have sweatshirt #2 soaked through.  He puked for almost three hours straight.  I’m actually worried about him.  He’s sleeping now but when we put him to bed he still wasn’t holding anything down; I tried droppers of Pedialyte only to have it come back up. It seems to have been just a 24-hour thing with Keaton, so I’m hoping by morning he is better.  If not, I’ll be calling his Ped.

So the pictures of the house?  I’m workin’ on them.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of the boys workin’ at the job site this summer. These are dated June 13th, but really they could have been taken any one of our many days out here.




Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vignettes

Ice Cream is Greater Than

A few weeks ago, as a special treat on a Saturday night I brought home geletto for dessert.  On Sunday there was still some left over and after finishing dinner we were in Hutton's room playing when I told the boys: there's geletto in the freezer!  They wasted no time and instantly sprinted to the kitchen; by the time I got out there the freezer drawer was open and they were both huddled around it, Hutton practically inside from the waist up as he teetered back and forth on his belly, his head buried in bags of corn and green beans.  We found the geletto and while I dished it out the boys took their places at the island.

"Mommy, I peed my pants." Hutton told me from his chair.

"You what?" I asked him.

"I peed my pants."

"Where?  In your chair?"

"No.  Over there." He said, pointing towards the fridge.

Sure enough, there was a wet spot on the floor.

I led him back to his bedroom and as we striped him down I asked him, "Honey, what happened out there?  You haven't had any accidents today, why did you pee your pants?"

I was kneeling on the ground and his hands were on my shoulders, he lifted his head and squinted his eyes at me, I could tell he was thinking: I'm not sure why this needs an explanation, but....

"Well,"  he said very matter of factly, "Hutton want ice cream, so I pee pee in my pants."

Or, in other words: Ice cream is more important than taking the time to go pee pee in the potty.

Or, Ice cream trumps pee pee in the potty.

Or, Ice cream > pee pee in the potty.


The To-Do List

The boys had finished eating breakfast and Keaton had taken his seat in the little folding chairs that sit by our patio door. They do this a lot of mornings, sit in those chairs and look out at the yard.  They call them their "deer stands" and sometimes they have binoculars and talk about the animals they "see" and other days they just sit there like two little old men having coffee on the front porch.  This day it was the latter.

Collin and I were cleaning up the breakfast mess when Keaton dramatically stands up and says:

"I have to go potty!"  As he marches off to the bathroom he throws his hands up for added flair.

"Ugh!" he says, "There's just so much To Do!"


The Police and Pigs

Last Wednesday we were sitting at dinner, I was feeding the baby and Collin was on my right side.  Keaton was facing us.

"Dad, when you dropped me off at school today I saw a police man and two boars."

"Two what?" Collin asked him.

"Boars."

"Like, pigs" I kind of say to Collin under my breath.

"Yeah!" Keaton says, "wild ones."

"You saw two boars when I took you to school today?"

"Yeah."

"There were boars IN your school?"

"No!" Keaton says, like, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. "They were with the police man."

(Note, there was no police man.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

First Painting









Late last week I told the boys that our weekend was open and asked what they wanted to do.  Snowshoeing, skiing, and painting were the top three items listed.  Santa brought them an easel for Christmas and while they’ve used the chalk board and the dry erase board, we had yet to break out the paints. 

Collin has been working his butt off trying to get the basement floor in.  We plan to have Nolan’s first birthday party down there, so we feel the clock ticking.  Our art room is the furthest most room in the basement, I thought it would be a few weeks yet before we were able to set it up so I was surprised when I got home from running errands Saturday afternoon and he told me it was ready.  We didn’t waste any time, I got a rag and a bucket of water and while I was washing the floor down Collin was clearing the furniture pieces that were to be moved in there (they had become collect-alls in the basement foyer.) And the boys?  They had dreams of painting.

We didn’t get out to go snowshoeing or skiing this weekend, but the paints, those came out. The boys….my boys, my boys that usually can’t be within feet of each other without fighting, sat at that easel and painted together for as long as they could.  I finally had to pull them away because the paper was getting so saturated I was afraid it was going to rip.

The painting is still on the easel, we’re giving it another day to dry and then it’ll be the first piece of art hung on those walls.  I hope it stays there a long, long time.

***

We moved back home over four months ago now and I know I have yet to show you pictures.  While we are so happy to be home, so, so happy, it’s also been difficult. We’ve all struggled with very raw emotions; we still struggle daily.  And as far as the house itself, I’ve been very reserved in showing it to people.  I’m not exactly sure why, Collin and his dad have worked so hard on this place and we feel so lucky just to have a place to call home.

Shortly after my birthday, back when I was feeling pretty blue (or gray) I had a massage and as I laid on that table I said, okay, God, it’s just you and me, I’m listening.  And almost clear as a bell He told me: you need to let go of the guilt from people helping you after the fire.  Honestly, I didn’t even realize how much the guilt was consuming me until that afternoon.

All of this is to say, I think I’m ready.  I’m ready to show you around our house.  I took pictures a couple of weeks ago and my plan is to get that post up this week. Thanks for being patient with me.