22 September 2013

What We're Eating

I noticed I had left off at post number 666 and obviously that meant it was time for a new story.  Or how 'bout some new recipes?

Since today is the first day of autumn I suppose it's time to come out of denial about summer ever leaving and embrace the pumpkins.  Do your kids love pumpkins as much as mine do?  Every time we see a pumpkin Christian tries to hug it and Daph's just super festive about all the holidays in general and already has trick-or-treat outfits picked out her and Christian.  Apparently we're going for a theme this year, because what she's got decided is very specific and matchy. 

We made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins quite a few times last year so they were the first fall-ish thing I brought out this year.  They're good.  Really good.  I make them gluten-free,* and although that doesn't make them 'healthier' for folks who tolerate gluten just fine (because of the starchiness of the replacement flours**), they make them easier on my guts and that is appreciated.

This recipe for Pumpkin Waffles has been floating around Pinterest a bunch lately so we gave them a try.  You guys, these could be served at a restaurant they are so good.  David said I could make them everyday.  A big winner, these waffles are.  I also make them gluten free.

Breakfasts can be a little hard around here just because of the way we eat and the fact that I have to make almost everything from scratch.  How did Ma Ingalls do it?  Cook EVERYTHING they ever ate?  She's my hero.   Anyways, having ready-to-eat breakfasts that don't come from a box can be a little challenging if you don't want to start cooking at 5 A.M. every morning.  (For the record, I don't want to start cooking at 5 A.M. every morning.)  Shelley gifted us with some homemade granola the other day which succeeded in putting us in a granola mood.  Then yesterday I found Peanut Butter Granola  on Pinterest and gave it a whirl...it's delish.  And takes approximately 17 minutes to make with 5 ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard.  The author is not lying when she says double the batch.  This stuff goes fast. 
lunchtime on the front porch

I'm always on the look-out for good recipes, so feel free to share with me what you know.  We're about to get 80lbs of Zaycon chicken, which means 80lbs of un-frozen chicken that I want to freeze in creative ways to make cooking it easier later on.  Like, marinades that I can mix up in a bag, put the chicken in with it, and freeze it all, ready to cook later.  Also, we have loads of hamburger and I run out of ways to cook hamburger.  I need help.  (In more ways than on how to cook beef, but we'll just cover that one issue for today.) 

*It's pretty easy to do an internet search for homemade g-free flour blends.  A lot of them are similar and I'm no expert on how flavors differ between flours, but I get my blend from the cookbook Gluten-Free Baking Classics.  This book was a lifesaver when we had to change our diets so drastically last year for Christian's health as it gave me recipes for baked goods that tasted perfectly 'normal.'  I keep her flour blend in my cupboard at all times now and use it for almost every recipe that calls for flour.  

**Potato, brown rice, and tapioca flours.  And don't forget the xanthan gum. 

15 September 2013

What We're Reading

I've been on a serious fiction kick lately.   I think I'll blame the summer lazies on my recent desire for so much easy reading. 

I stumbled upon the author Charles Martin recently.  This is going to sound really weird, but I'm usually scared of reading fiction written by a man.  I don't know why; maybe I'm nervous the stories will be about blood and guts and war?  Or about the old west?   But his books caught me by surprise.  First I read When Crickets Cry.  It is a beautiful story, poetically written and full of thoughtful insights from the medical field.  Then I read The Mountains Between Us.  Also wonderfully written, although the story line made me sadder.  He has quite a few books out so I'm excited to plow through all of them. 

Meeka introduced me to Kate Morton.  Holy cow.  After I finished The Forgotten Garden I closed the book and literally felt like I was coming up for air.  Like I had been gone for a few months and had to take a few minutes (hours) to reorient myself as to where I was and what I was supposed to be doing.  I own three of her books now (because I love reading books over and over again).  Two I got at Powell's and one I got for FREE from the paperback exchange at the library.  If you like books you need to try this author.  The only sad thing is she doesn't have very many books out yet.  I say 'yet' with a hopeful tone.  I would be so sad if she never wrote anything again.  Although I imagine her brain has to get very tired coming up with the stories she does. 

I just checked out Desperate:  Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  Ann Voskamp wrote the foreword and she wrote, "I've been the mama who punished when I needed to pray.  Who hollered at kids when I needed to help them.  Who lunged onward when I needed to lean on Jesus.  I've lain in bed too scared to get up and ruin another day- ruin my kids."  So yeah, that spoke to me. 

I'm curious to read the J.K. Rowling book The Casual Vacancy, and also Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn because I feel like everyone but me has read that one. 

Christian likes any books with good pictures of trains, trucks, or tractors.  Sometimes cows and horses, but mostly he prefers machinery over animals.  His reading choices are really not that interesting. Moving on. 

Daphne really likes Pinkalicious.  I admit I'm a little torn on it because I really don't like that Pinkalicious disobeys her parents and sneaks cupcakes after she's told not to.  She seems a little whiny and bratty.  But Daph's pretty cute reciting the book:  "You must eat a steady diet of green food!"  We don't own any of the books but have gotten them quite a few times from the library.  The pictures are engaging and fun. They keep her entertained during her after-lunch-quiet-book-rest (that thing you do to kids who stop napping by age two).

Daphne can also almost completely recite Llama Llama Misses Mama, a story of little llama going off to preschool.  One afternoon I went out to get my haircut and Christian started crying like crazy, so Daphne told him, "Never fear, when day is through, she will come right back to you!"  It was sweet.  I highly recommend this book in particular if your child is having separation anxiety about school.  All the llama book by Anna Dewdney are charming and fun and have little nuggets of wisdom to pass on to kids.  We only own Misses Mama and Red Pajama, but they are classic enough that I would love to own all of them. 

I've heard a lot of great things about The Jesus Storybook Bible.  So many great things I kind of want to get it.  We have Read and Share Bible and I appreciate the Biblical accuracy in its stories.  Daphne told me that her Bible Study teacher told the class they only had to read a little bit of the Bible, but Daphne is determined that she needs needs to read the whole thing.  She's had this Bible with her almost constantly lately to prove that she can read the whole Bible.  She got this Bible for her 1st Christmas and hasn't tired of it yet, so I can definitely recommend it.  I would still like to try out the other one, though, too.

It's hard to imagine that in a year or so Daphne will be reading for herself.  I have a feeling she's going to be a little bookworm, and I try to picture her curled up with a book, quiet, for a few hours each day.  For some reason I don't think I will mind. 

12 September 2013

Starbucks Reads My Blog

Almost exactly one year ago I found myself tiring of saying Pumpkin Spice Latte every time I talked about one (because I talk about them a lot), so I cleverly shortened it to PSL.  You can read all about that profound moment here.   Now what is all over Starbucks this year?  PSL this and PSL that.  And I STARTED it!  I really did!  What that means is somebody from Starbucks reads this blog.  And I should've copyrighted PSL. 

This week has been our first full week with our new schedule.  Daphne has school on Tuesday, BSF on Wednesday and school on Thursday, so she kind of thinks she gets to every-other-day this schedule all the time.  I picked her up from school today (Thursday) and she told me she's so excited to go to Bible Study again tomorrow.  I had to let her down gently that it doesn't quite work that way. 

She's learning stuff, though.  She told me there used to be a big blob and then God said "let there be light!" and now we have earth.  She tried saying "let there be light!" herself to see what would happen...and apparently she's not God because nothing happened. 

She is just getting slammed with the disappointments lately. 

Wednesday was Daphne's first day of BSF for the year, and the last year she gets to go with me.  Sniff.  David started going to the men's Monday night BSF so next year Daphne will go with him for the school age class.  We are one of the most BSFed families around.  I hope they put us on a poster. 

Christian started BSF on Tuesday because this year I get to be in leadership and leaders meet on Tuesdays.  Now he gets two days of crying hysterically as I leave him in classrooms instead of just one day.  He's so lucky.  We've started doing a "Yay BSF!  Yay teacher!" cheer to get him pumped up and excited.  I don't really know if it's working.
trying to get a First Day of BSF photo; it's not so good

First day of Mommy as a group leader, Christian in the 2's and Daphne in 4-6:

there's some first day panic in my eyes

And finally...I suppose this is big news...we're putting our house on the market at almost any time. Maybe even today if I get organized enough.  Tell all your house-hunting friends.    Do you think anyone will want to buy it?  I hope so.  Daphne says she wants to live here forever and ever (she wants everything 'forever and ever' these days) but she says she'll go with us to the new house if she can have bunnies there.  Bunnies?  Why does she think we're getting bunnies?  Please no bunnies. 

Once it sells we might be homeless for a time while we get things in order for our new house, so if you want us to live with you let me know.  I'm sure we would make the most excellent of roommates. 

05 September 2013

Now We Will Have School for the Rest of Our Lives

Daphne is officially a student now.  Tuesday night was open house and today was the first day.

At the open house the kids found their name tags and sat at the teacher's feet so she could tell them that on Thursday they will get to paint with watercolors (and Daphne shouts, "I HAVE THOSE PAINTS!  I PAINT WITH THOSE!") and draw the number one ("I CAN DRAW A 'D'!") and maybe play outside (she was distracted at that point, turned around and talking to the boy behind her).  They can bring a stuffed animal ("I HAVE A DOG ANIMAL I CAN BRING!") with them to keep them company, if they like. 

So in the car I told her that when her teacher is talking, she'll have to remember to sit quietly and listen to her instructions.  It's rude to interrupt, she'll have to practice being quiet and patient.

She says, "Well, can I just talk to my friends instead?"

"No, Daphne, you have to be quiet when the teacher is talking.  It's important to listen to her."

"I think I will just talk to myself."

"Nope, you have to be quiet."

"No,"  she says, "I will just talk to myself."

For the love, Daphne.  Silence is golden.  

Pray for her teacher, I think.  And for the little girl talking to herself at school because her mom told her not to talk to her teacher or to her friends.

front and center might not be the best spot for her

we discovered her classroom was David's AWANA classroom many years ago

Wednesday was a long day of anticipation, waiting for the morning to come, wanting to pack her backpack full, reminding me over and over that we can't be late for school.

She asked, "I get to be at school by myself, right?"

"Yes, we will take you and help you hang your backpack on your hook, but then you can stay all by yourself,"  I told her.

"I can hang my backpack all by myself.  I don't need help.  Can I walk into the school by myself?"

"Your teacher said she didn't want little children walking in the parking lot alone, so we will walk you from the car to your classroom.  Then you can hang your backpack by yourself."

That seemed to pacify her.  I guess the "your teacher said" line is going to work well for us.

School starts at 9 A.M. and it took us exactly three minutes to get there.  Best drive ever, and it's fabulous to not have to rush out the door before we're all properly awake.  

Once we were back at home, David took Christian for a walk and I turned on Norah Jones and cleaned the house.  It was so peaceful and I realized why moms get so excited when school starts back up in the fall.

After pick up we heard that she was upset because they didn't play on the playground for very long and she wanted to eat more food at snack time.  She painted, made puppets, read stories, and she wants to go to school everyday forever and ever.

The letter from her teacher this week says, "My number one goal is to teach your child about our great creator God, who made them and loves them and will walk with them through their whole life."

How blessed we are to have our children surrounded by people teaching them these truths.  It's going to be a good year.

I thought she looked tired after school,  A giant lunch restored her energy.

04 September 2013

Beware of Little Boys

I thought girls were the most fun babies to have.  Hair bows and dresses and tea parties and all that.  Pink and purple and sparkles. (I really love sparkles.)

But then I had a baby boy.  Blue and green and brown.  Trucks, tractors, trains.  And let me tell you, there is nothing like it. Those people who say you can never find cute boy clothes?  I think they are not looking in the right places.  Boy clothes are plentiful and a special kind of darling. 

Boys aren't better than baby girls; not by a long shot.  It's just so different and unexpected and wonderful.  Impossible to guess until you get to have one.
My baby boy turned two on Saturday.  You would know that if I was up on my blogging.  My regular laptop needs a new charging cord and this old one is so slow and crotchety I like to use it as little as possible.

To record Christian's birthday festivities, though, I will endure.

I draw two things for him every day: a train and a bus.  Then he turns the page in the notebook and I draw another train and another bus.  He turns the page and...you get the picture. 

So for his birthday gifts we got him a Playmobil bus and a board book with the song "The Wheels on the Bus."  We sing "Wheels on the Bus" every night at bedtime.  (Along with "God is so Good," because we like a variety in our musical genres.) 

For lunch we went to a restaurant that is a grilled cheese sandwich shop on a bus, and at suppertime he got a bus on top of his cupcake cake.  Best Mother Award in the Bus Theme Birthday Category?  Yes.


stick a bus on a cupcake and call it good

birthday dinner with the grandparents

first use of the You Are Special plate

the driver on the bus says "move on back"

'mommy put the bus on the cake but I want it'

I leave you with this warning: beware of little boys.  They will steal your heart clean away.

You will probably never get it back.