Monday, March 31, 2014

hello again

Where did last week go?! I feel like the days just slipped through my fingers and the week was over before I knew it. Last week I had my Spring break week all planned and was looking forward to seeing some family and some down time at home with just me and my little guy. I think I shared my little plans with you, but then, there was a sudden change of plans. One of my sisters wanted to come in for a little visit! Of course I was more than excited when she asked if she could come and we changed some of the plans we had made.

Instead of leaving Saturday morning like we had thought, we stayed home and welcomed my sister and her kids later that evening. Then we all headed out the next morning. My little family went to visit my in-laws and my sister went to visit my other sister in Ohio. We stayed for a few days visiting Landon's family and then we came back home where we would spend some time with my sister and her kids. 


E has constant attention when we visit family! 

One especially nice surprise was that my sisters and I all got together one afternoon and went to the Children's Museum in Cincinnati... it was the first time all of our kiddos had been together since Emerson was born. It was such a nice afternoon and I loved spending those few precious hours with my sisters. I wish it could happen more often.




The rest of our time in Kentucky we just hung out around the house and visited a few friends. It was a nice little visit, but we were glad to be home at the end of it -Emerson never sleeps well when we travel so it made for somewhat sleepless nights. He usually went down in his pack n play at bed time, then would wake up around 11 or 12 and refuse to go back down. Landon and I would sleep on the couch each night in hopes that being in a different room would help him sleep through the night. But, in the end he slept with me in the bed and Landon slept on the couch. ha. But hey, it worked. The baby slept, the hubs slept, and I got to sleep as better than if the baby was crying all night long (but I just can't sleep that well when I am sharing a bed with E because I'm fearful of him rolling off or me squishing him or something).


Anyhow. The rest of the week my sister and I hung out and the kids played. It had been since Thanksgiving since we last saw each other, so it was a really nice surprise and treat for her to come visit.



So while my original plans for Spring Break didn't go as I thought, I ended up having an even better one. Which happened to keep me busier than I thought so I just enjoyed myself, time with family, and didn't blog at all (which you probably noticed if you read this ol' blog :). 


I will be back at it again this week though... hopefully! If the babies behave that is :) I hope you all had a great week, I am looking forward to doing a little catch up reading on your blogs! 



Friday, March 21, 2014

five on friday ... spring and cake

Friday is a nice day to share a little of this and that, so that's what I'm doing :)

1. Today starts Spring Break! Oh, how I love you. Even though I enjoy babysitting, I will very much enjoy a week without other babies in the house. How ever will I manage with just one little munchkin running around?

2. I made a birthday cake for the hubs the other day, even though it's not his birthday quite yet. But, he wanted it early, so who was I to deny him? :) I'll be sure to share the recipe and some pictures next week!

3. Spring has graced us with her presence a few more times this week and yesterday afternoon E and I were able to go for a nice little stroll around the neighborhood. Oh, how I love Spring and the fresh and new she brings.


4. We are going to see some dear friends this weekend and I am so excited! It's been a while since we've seen them and it will be nice to catch up and visit for a bit. I'm thankful for their friendship and that we are able to visit them every now and again.

5. Question. For all of you who watermark your pictures, how do you do it? Do you have a program that does it for you? Was the program free? Cheap? Can you do a bunch of pictures at once or is it a one at a time deal? I want to start watermarking my photos and am looking into the best options. Please share!   


link up here

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

thoughts on cloth diapering. part 1

Before I was even pregnant I thought about what diapering system I would use if/when we had a baby. Because I have two older sisters I had heard a lot about both disposable and cloth diapering and what they thought the pros and cons were to both. I also knew that if I wanted to do cloth diapers I had a whole stash available for me to use, for free. How wonderful would that be? Free diapers from the start?
 
pocket diaper. source
 
I looked into the cloth diapering world and learned about the wide variety of cloth diapers and all of the choices there are to make when it comes to cloth diapering: prefolds, diaper covers, gDiapers, pocket diapers, flats, contoured....  I also looked more into the two systems that were available to me: gDiapers and just the basic diaper with prefolds. Of those two I preferred the gDiapers: they looked cute, they seemed easy, they had options of cloth or disposable inserts (I would use cloth), and they seemed like less work. The diaper with prefolds were nice and all but, they weren't as cute (at least not the ones that would be free to me), and they seemed like more work.

gDiapers. source
 
Then I found out I was pregnant and did even more looking into the whole cloth diaper world. My favorite was the pocket diaper, but it wasn't a free option to me, and if I did decide to do that kind they were one of the more expensive types of cloth diapers. I also really liked the gDiapers, and knew that my sister had covers and liners I could use for free, all I would need to get to add to the collection would be the cloth inserts which would cost about what two boxes of diapers cost. And that would be it. But I was cheap and knew my other sister had free ones, even though I didn't like them as well...
 
diaper cover for prefolds. source

So I didn't use either. ha.

Even though I wanted to, for whatever reason I didn't even register for the gDiaper inserts. I think I was scared. I felt like if I did get them I would have to use them and I was scared I wouldn't like them and that cloth diapering would be too hard and that I wouldn't like it. So I did nothing and accepted gifts of boxes of diapers. Thankfully we were gifted with dozens of boxes of diapers and didn't have to buy many at all during Emerson's first year of life anyhow.

After Emerson was born it was just so easy to use the disposables. I was having a long recovery and between that and learning how to nurse, and just being completely exhausted from being a new mama I was more than happy with the disposables and couldn't imagine switching to cloth.

After we went through a few boxes of diapers I thought about the diaper covers and liners I had in Emerson's closet and thought that I should maybe try them out just to see how they would work.

But I didn't ... until we were going to have to buy some diapers again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

a little sunny weekend


This weekend the sunshine decided to come out for a bit and the wind thought he would stop blowing so much so we were able to go for a little stroll and even stop at the park for a bit. Walks and little visits to the park make my heart happy. There is something about being cooped up in your house all day every day that just gets to you. Sure I can load the little pookie up and we can go to Target for some fun and just to get out, but that doesn't and can't happen every day. Currently, neither can walks, but I loves the days when walks happen.
 
I was so thankful for a few hours of sunshine and soft breezes and a park in our neighborhood. It really is one of my favorite things about living here. Landon didn't have too much going on this weekend so he came with us and we walked about and chatted about life. I'm so thankful I have my best friend here with me.
 


When we got to the park we decided to stop and play for a bit. Landon got Emerson out of his stroller and walked around for a bit then sat him down. Emerson must have been sleepy or just amazed at his new surroundings because he just sat on the little crocodile for the longest time.

 
It was so cute just watching E sit and watch a few other kids play and look around at the playground.








The rest of the weekend we hung around the house and did a little of this and that. On Sunday after church we went to meet a guy that Landon knows from work and his family. We watched the UK game (well, I kind of watched some of it, when I wasn't chasing E around) and had a laid back dinner and evening. My favorite kind.

Next weekend will be a lot more busy for us, which is rare, so I know it will be nice but at the same time I am already a little apprehensive about it and I need to start praying that everything will be good.

Happy Monday you all!


Friday, March 14, 2014

five on friday ... strawberries and spring break

one
This week has seemed unusually long and I am thankful Friday is here. Even though my weekends are fairly similar to my weekdays it's nice to have a break from babysitting and just enjoy playing with my little munchkin.

two
Last night I made a very detailed list of what I need to get at the grocery store when I go out shopping. I even used the store add to see what was on sale... and guess what? Strawberries are still 5 for $5! snap. So, we will continue enjoying the tasty little red berries :)



three
The hubs is having a birthday in a week. We don't typically do anything big for birthdays but it will be fun to celebrate just the same. He has already picked out the meal and the type of cake he wants for his birthday. I like any excuse to make some yummy treats so it will be fun to make them to celebrate him!
 
four
St. Patrick's Day is on Monday! This is such a fun little holiday. We never really do anything at all for it, but I am considering making green pancakes. It would be oh so festive. Growing up we always had corned beef and cabbage for dinner, I think many people do, but we will not be having that for dinner here. The hubs is a little bit picky (although, his taste buds are expanding, thank goodness!) and sadly that is one thing he will not eat. shame really, it's delightfully tasty.
 
source
 
five
Spring Break is almost here! I am so very excited. It is one reason I am very thankful that I only babysit teacher's kids. That way I get the luxury of a teacher's schedule and breaks. It is wonderful. And this year the public schools are out at the same time as the university (maybe it is every year, but this is the first year we have been here and the first time I've known public schools and universities to be on break at the same time). We are planning on making a little trip to see Landon's family and a few friends for a few days. We are hoping this trip will go better than our Christmas trip (i.e. that Emerson will actually sleep at night and for naps!). Hopefully the rest of the break will be a break... and I'll get to do some deep and much needed cleaning around the house.
 
 
You can link up here to join in if you like.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

a long morning

This morning, while it was nice and dark out, our electricity went out. After the power was off I could hear the wind howling outside and see the snow falling, which I am pretty sure is why the power went off to begin with. Anyhow, after 3:58 (the exact time the power went out) I just could not fall back to sleep. I don't think it helped that my hubby couldn't either and kept tossing and turning.

And this is why I couldn't fall back asleep: there was no white noise for me. Pathetic, I know. But, I always sleep with a fan on, I need the white noise and in the summer it's a nice little breeze on me while I sleep. Since as long as I can remember I have had something to fall asleep to: music, rain on the tin roof, the hum of an air conditioner unit in my room...  I suppose that is why I have developed a need to have a white noise on when I sleep. So every night I sleep with a fan on, even if it's -20 outside (which it has been a lot this winter). Apparently after five years of marriage I have gotten my hubby dependent on a little white noise too. Woops. But I can't help it. I really can't sleep without it. I know it's probably a bad thing to be so dependent on it, but I am. What can I say? When we travel I take a mini fan just for the noise. If I don't have that noise it takes me forever to fall asleep. Then, should I be woken in the middle of the night for whatever reason it takes forever for me to fall back asleep. So in the end I don't end up getting my sleep if I don't have my little fan or noise maker. I know, I know, first world problems. Anyhow, that is why when the power went out at 3:58 this morning I couldn't really fall back asleep.

I really don't mind having no power, I practically grew up without it. Candles are just fine. But then, it wasn't freezing outside either. And also, it was pretty much expected to have no power and a nice surprise if we had it at all.

Anyhow... the day would go on. And since the power was out and the electric company had no idea when it would come back on I had to make plans for the day. I couldn't very well care for three babies in a freezing cold house. Thankfully Bee's mom said we could spend the day over at their house. So I packed some food and other supplies we would need for the day, dropped Landon off at school, and went to their house. Then right before Bee's dad was going to leave for work I got a text from the electric company: our power was on. Of course it would be, right at the start of the day. But still, thank you Jesus. I told Bee's dad and he asked if I wanted to go home with the babies. I decided to think about it (and the logistics of it: one me. one 13 month old. one 9 month old. one 5 month old. 3 babies. 3 car seats. half a dozen baby bags...). He left her car seat base and the garage code should I choose to leave, and was off.

I thought about it for a while and decided we could stay and make it work. But then Toad came and I just asked his mom if she could leave his base, just in case... After about ten minutes of three babies in one large room that opened up into a nice clean kitchen and chasing and redirecting two babies about a hundred times I decided that yes, I would make the trek with three babies back home.

So I loaded them up, one at a time. The time I started to load everything up to the time we actually left took about 45 minutes. Not too bad, right? Needless to say, I was very happy to be home with them where I have a space designated especially for them that they can tear apart to their little hands delight.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

strawberry bread: a recipe

The other week when I went to the grocery store I was delightfully surprised by one of the best sales: strawberries - 5 for $5. What?! So of course I did the logical thing and plopped five cartons of strawberries in my cart. I mean, how could I not? It would be such a waste. We love strawberries and I needed a fruit for the week so I snatched them right up.

As the week went on and we were nibbling away on the fresh berries I noticed we probably wouldn't get to all of them before they went bad, which would be a real waste. So I did the only thing I could think of. I made bread with them.


Strawberry Bread 
Ingredients: 
1/2 cup butter -softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
16 oz. strawberries - mashed



Directions: 
Cream together the butter, sugar. Add eggs in one at a time and mix together. Add vanilla. Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda. Mix into the the butter mixture. Fold in sour cream and strawberries. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.


... of course it's much tastier with a little bit o butter spread on top :)  



So if you are ever at the grocery store and happen to stumble across a 5 for $5 deal on strawberries, or you have some you don't think you'l finish off before they go bad, or you just want to try something new, have some fun and make some strawberry bread. It is amazingly soft, perfectly sweet, and there are little bits of berry in each bite. Yum. Let me know if you try it! 


Strawberry Bread 
Ingredients: 
1/2 cup butter -softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
16 oz. strawberries - mashed


Directions: 
Cream together the butter, sugar. Add eggs in one at a time and mix together. Add vanilla. Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda. Mix into the the butter mixture. Fold in sour cream and strawberries. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.



Monday, March 10, 2014

"where are you from?"

This is a very commonly asked question. So simple, so common. Usually always asked when you first meet people. But for me, it is the one question I hate the most.

Yes, you read that right, it is my least favorite question.

"Why?" You might ask, "you just said, it's such a simple question." "Where are you from?" - Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado.... there are 50 states, just pick the place you're from and say it. Right?

Wrong. Well, at least for me. You see, you may not know this (or maybe you do), but I'm not from anywhere. It's true. I'm kind of from everywhere. Thus, the reason I loathe being asked this question so much.

Do you want to know where I'm from? I'll give you the long version... I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. When I was two my family moved to Lawrence, Kansas. When I was about four we moved to Washington (probably one of the most beautiful states ever). Then when I was nine we packed up our house (though I'm not really sure how much packing I did for that move...) and moved across the ocean to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea where my parents served as missionaries. My sophomore year of high school we moved to Bangkok, Thailand and two short years later we moved north to Chiang Mai, Thailand where I graduated from high school.

Upon my high school graduation I packed up all of my belongings into three Rubbermaid tubs and two suitcases and moved into a dorm at a small Christian college in Bourbonnais, Illinois [story: when I was moving into the dorms I thought I had so much crap with my three tubs and two pieces of luggage in tow. But then I saw all of the other girls bringing up tvs, mini fridges, and boxes upon boxes of clothes and other belongings. So, no, in comparison, I didn't have a lot of crap at all. If only that were still the case...]. The following Fall I transferred to a state school in Kentucky for financial reason for a semester and returned to Illinois in the Spring. The Fall of my junior year of college I transferred to another small Christian college in Nampa, Idaho where I lived until I graduated. During the four years spent at college I spent summers and breaks in: California, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, and Minnesota.

After I graduated from college I moved to Lexington, Kentucky, got married a year later and moved to College Station, Texas where my hubby was pursing his Masters degree at A&M. We spent one year in College Station and then moved to Louisville, Kentucky because that is where he got a job. We lived in Louisville for about four years, but during that time we also lived in Davis, California and Washington D.C. for a while. This past August we moved to Champaign, Illinois and will probably be here for four years or so while my hubby works on his PhD.

So, as you can see, "Where are you from" proves to be a difficult question for me to answer and one that causes me great stress. I never know how to answer that question and my answer will change from person to person and from time to time.

map from Google images

Sometimes I say I'm from Washington, it is after all, my favorite state and the prettiest, so why not call that home? But then, sometimes I say I'm from Kentucky or Idaho or Thailand... Though, I don't really feel as though I'm from any of those places. I've lived there, sure, they are apart of me, yes. But I'm not from there.

My answer to this question changes based on who I'm talking to:
a stranger, someone at church, someone I might see again, someone I'd like to be friends with, a friend of a friend, a colleague, a professor, an acquaintance of my husband, a colleague of my husband, someone from my husbands hometown...

My answer also changes based on my mood:
am I feeling chatty? friendly? happy? lonely? cranky? do I really want to invest five minutes answering this question? do I care? do they really care? do I want to actually talk to them - cause it's a great conversation piece - or do I just want to say hey?

One line that works fairly well for me is, "I just moved here from _______," because then people usually assume you are from that place.

Anyhow, now you know where I am from. The long version. Which I'm sure you can see by now is why I don't really like this question. It's too complicated and takes about a year and a half to answer (which is why I usually just pick a place I feel like at the moment). But, you also probably now know a lot more about me now than you did at the beginning of the post.
So, where are you from? :)


Friday, March 7, 2014

rambles... five on friday

Since I have done such a great job at blogging this week (hu-humm... or not) I thought I'd end on an especially great note: with a bunch or random things. But, since it's Friday I'm just going to allow it.

one.
Sometimes I miss being in the classroom: talking with my kids, reading, writing, planning, and getting them thinking. But at the same time I'm not sure if I miss it enough to want to go back any time soon.

two.
Emerson is being sporadic with his naps lately. He took one one hour nap yesterday and that was it. Typically he takes two and will nap for about 3-5 hours. Today he's not taking his afternoon nap. Yet. A few days ago he took super long morning and afternoon naps. And some afternoons he will nap... but he wants to nap while I hold him [which I really don't mind, he's the best cuddle bug]. I just don't know what's going on with that sweet boy. Does he only need one nap? Then why does he sometimes take such long naps? or none at all?

three.
I hate dusting, it is my least favorite chore. It's not so bad, but every night when I lay in bed I look up and see our ceiling fan piled high in dust. It's pretty gross and pathetic. But even still, I just lay there and think about how I should  dust it and don't actually do anything about it.

source

four.
Shopping can be stressful sometimes. I like to get the most bang I can for my buck, which means I have to watch sales, deals, and coupons. But, I'm not the greatest about doing that and so it just makes for a stressful time all around. Take for example diapers. You need them. But, where can I get the best deal? Use the most coupons? Get free shipping if I order them? What is the cheapest route in the long run? so many choices... help.

five.
I am working on something that I am so very excited about and I cannot wait to tell you all more about it... hopefully soon! This project makes my heart so happy and I have great hopes for it! But, for now, that's all I'm going to say about that.

......

and that's all I've got for today. I hope you all have a delightful and hopefully Springy weekend!


link up here :)


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

mixed berry and white chocolate chip scones: a recipe

One of my favorite things to bake for breakfast is scones. We love them so much I often double the recipie so we can enjoy them a little bit longer.


Ingredients:
2 cups flour 
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
1 egg 
1 1/2 cup frozen berries 
6 oz. white chocolate chips 

Directions: 
In a large bowl stir flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. (I like to use my stand mixer, it makes the whole process a lot easier!) 

Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to the flour mixture and combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 


In separate bowl stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. 

Add cream mixture to the flour mixture and knead until combined. 


Add frozen berries and mix them into the dough (you could use fresh berries if you want, but I have found that the frozen berries add a tad more moisture to the scone which makes it taste better and last longer without being super dry).


Add white chocolate chips and knead until combined. 


On a clean surface roll the dough out until it is 1/2 inch. Using biscuit cutters cut out the dough and place on parchment paper lined cookies sheets (be sure to use parchment paper; it will make your life so much easier when it comes time to get the scones off the cookie sheet, and clean them too for that matter :). OR you can roll the dough into a 9 inch circle and cut the circle into wedges before baking. 



Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, the bottom edges should be lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack and store any extras in an air tight container.


Enjoy!


....and if you're like me and like to see the everything all together, here you go...