Tuesday, March 31, 2009

day by numbers

3 young boys

1 tired adult

2 days left to pick up my books from the library's hold shelf

2 (short) naps that day

45 minutes before the roasting chicken should be turned in oven

1 determined visit to the library

1 minute I considered not taking a burp cloth into the building

5 times I said "Walking feet, inside voices!"

3 Dr. Seuss books gleefully discovered & brought, one by one, by Kyle

2 visits to the bathroom initiated by children

0 visits to the bathroom initiated by me

2 minutes between bathroom visits

1 colossal spit-up by Owen

3 times I felt profoundly grateful that I had brought the burp cloth after all

1 number of times I was looked on with sympathy by a young girl as I mopped up the splat

2+ dollars paid in fines because I am not as observant of due dates as I used to be

1 time greeted by Story Time man, who I met when I came with my 6-week-old only child

1 forehead sweaty from exertion

3 times I wondered how Story Time man's perception of me has changed in the past 6 years

6 books for boys

2 books for me

0 minutes left on oven timer when we arrived home

Monday, March 30, 2009

who's who answers

Okay, so you guys are getting too good at this. I had a feeling that it would be more telling at 12 months than at 8 months or 4 months. Everyone managed to guess the boys right -- er, that is, correctly. Kudos to you!

I suppose the real prize (and by "prize," I mean the esteem and pride of having guessed correctly) goes to those who guessed correctly just who was curled up inside that belly. And so, without further ado, here are the Who's Who answers:

Top left: Owen
Top right: Kyle
Bottom left: Benjamin
Belly shot: Kyle!

Congratulations to everyone who participated, and extra congrats to Traci, Joy, and Steve and Corrine for guessing the identity of the babe in utero. That was fun, but I suspect that Who's Who needs to be laid to rest for a good long while. Thanks for playing, everyone!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

isn't it gorgeous?

what I'm doing to save money

Regardless of how much any given person has been impacted by the current economy, pretty much all of us could benefit from saving money. Whether it's a house payment, a car payment, putting away money for something special, credit card debt, or just saving for a rainy day, we can all afford to spend a little less these days.

Granted, it can be hard to keep to a budget when eating healthful, organic food. But we're doing it! And although I admit that the novelty may wear off, for now I'm kind of enjoying the challenge of making it all work. Because as much as I'd like to save money, I don't want to eat cheap food.

So here is my list of money-saving strategies~

1) Using more rice and beans. I was blessed to receive a rice cooker for Christmas, which makes dinner preparation a snap when we're having a rice-based meal. I'm learning about rice salads, and we're loving rice as a side dish, as well.

2) Making meat stretch. I love that roasting a chicken provides meat for several meals, plus several quarts of chicken stock. It's so easy to make a simple soup, and comforting to know that it's incredibly health-giving, too. Also, lately I've been experimenting with casseroles, which can really stretch a pound of beef. Two of our favorites are Poor Man's Rosemary Beef and Vegetables from Alison @ Wholesome Goodness, and Simple Beef and Quinoa Skillet Dinner from Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS.

3) Helpful websites. If you'd like to see a list of frugal, nourishing recipes, click here. I've only scratched the surface of these, but I've yet to be disappointed with anything I've tried from this site. Another wonderful resource is Frugal Granola. Michele has a host of great ideas, from recipes to tips on making your own dishwasher detergent. I really enjoy frequenting this site.

4) Using cash. Here's a novel idea! Dave Ramsey says that people who pay with cash spend 12-18% less money than those who use plastic. Why? Because it hurts more to hand over that real, actual money. With credit or debit cards, it all seems rather hypothetical. This theory is proving very true for me. I've really been amazed!

5) Homemade noodles. Now before anyone panics, I was pretty intimidated by the prospect of making these, myself. But it's really so simple! Some whole wheat flour, apple cider vinegar, and warm water are the only ingredients. It takes 10 minutes of kneading the night before, and the next day you just roll out the dough and cut it in strips. This recipe comes from The Nourishing Gourmet. We love to eat these with marinara sauce and Parmesan, but the possibilities are endless. My picky boys are always so excited when I tell them I'm making noodles!

6) Cutting down on pricier items. Okay, so this one isn't so fun. I am a huge bacon lover, and although I've found a turkey bacon with no nitrites or nitrates added (delicious!), I buy it very rarely right now. (I did have some leftover from a recipe this week, and nearly died of happiness when I had it at lunchtime!) Also off my shopping list at the moment are no-nitrite-added lunchmeats, and most nuts. I adore nuts, and look forward to the day that they can be a wonderful addition to our diet again, but for now I'm buying them pretty infrequently. I am continuing to buy almonds though, to make Almond Butter (now a staple in our family's diet) as well as our favorite almond cookies.

7) A local source for eggs. Ever since I found a source nearby to buy fresh eggs, I've been able to be a little more free with those lovely ovoids. We love to eat eggs, plus I use them for pancakes, cookies, etc., and for a while there I was rationing them out. So it was such a blessing to find them less than 10 minutes from our home. Now I'm getting healthy eggs from pastured chickens for less than half what I was paying in the organic section of the grocery store.

8) Homemade cleaners. This is another idea I came to through Michele @ Frugal Granola. I've been making laundry detergent for a while now, and I really happy with the results. I'm planning to try the dishwasher detergent recipe in the near future, too. I am also going to try using vinegar in a lot of my cleaning when my current stash of sprays runs out.

9) Cutting out the paper. This may not be a popular item, but for the past few months we've been whittling down our use of paper products. I already used cloth diapers & wipes, but last summer we decided to buy some cloth napkins to use for every day. I admit that I've had to experiment a bit to determine the number we needed, and how often to launder them, but I'm really glad that we made the change. Another change that we've made is that we haven't bought paper towels in ages. Instead I'm trying to use more rags. While it's been a challenge to go cold turkey (I used to use paper towels for nearly all my cleaning, as well as finding other uses for them), I feel good about our decision. We may not be paper towel-less forever, but for now we're learning to live without them. It feels good to generate less garbage, and cut down on the paper products that I have to buy, as well!


So those are the strategies I'm using in an attempt to save money. Feel free to share your own; I'd love to hear other ideas. In the meantime, be healthy, and be His.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

my life, in books

Does anyone else tend to narrate their day in their head with Facebook-type statuses? No? Just me? Ah, well. Good to know.

Jeff has taken the two older boys up on the mountain today; our church took a bus up there for a Snow Day. It's been a much-anticipated outing in our house, especially in that Benjamin missed his first chance at attending last year's Snow Day. He was sick that weekend, the poor soul. At any rate, those kids love to play in the snow, and have been itching to get up on the mountain for over a year now. We haven't been able to go as a family, but I'm so glad that they could go tramp around in the white stuff today.

As for me, I'm here at home with Owen, who is miserable with a cold. Because of this, I haven't gotten as much accomplished today as I'd hoped, but during his afternoon nap did some more packing.

Much to my husband's dismay, what I've packed mostly so far is books. We have books in nearly every room in our house, including the dining room, where we've made good use of the built-in shelves next to the fireplace. (We shall have to find another home for those in the new house...) We have books from nearly every part of our lives, although I did get rid of my Sweet Valley High collection a few years ago. But this week I've been interested to note the variety of authors whose works I've been packing away.

We've got Max Lucado, Brennan Manning, Charles Swindoll, Billy Graham, George MacDonald. There's L.M. Montgomery (author of the famous Anne of Green Gables, as well as a host of other charming tales), Louisa May Alcott, & Victor Hugo. And Jennifer Weiner, Belva Plain, and Maeve Binchy. There are books containing writings by and about the late great Rich Mullins (so dear to me). And we mustn't forget Jan Karon, Beverly Lewis, Michael Phillips, Bodie Thoene, and Francine Rivers.

Well, I actually don't own any books by Francine Rivers. But I adore her stories, and I hope to begin collecting them someday.

There are dusty, be-doodled, beloved diaries, books on dating & marriage, childbirth & parenting, Bible study books, books of quotations, devotionals, and quite a range of Bible translations. And Jeff has his own eclectic collection: Dilbert, Calvin & Hobbes, Foxtrot, books on Chess, glassware, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, J.R.R. Tolkien, and many more.

Each volume represents something to me. Past, Present, and the Future as well. Within each cover is perspective, counsel, and even sometimes wisdom. I love my books. But (almost) even more, I love what they mean to me. The memories behind them. Each one is an old friend, an influence on who I am and what is valuable to me.

So I guess they're worth the heavy lifting when it comes to moving time. I wouldn't want to leave any dear old chums behind.

Friday, March 27, 2009

who's who? 12 months old

Are you good with faces? Do you think you know my boys? Take this challenge to see if you can correctly guess who's who. These photos were taken of each of the boys at around 12 months of age. See if you can guess:Benjamin, Kyle, or Owen. Bonus points if you guess which babe was still baking in the belly picture. Good luck! The answers will be revealed on Monday.

p.s. I need a fourth child, so I don't have to keep finding a placeholder in the grid o' photos...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

good idea...bad idea

Good idea: sorting through my desk- packing, trashing, and recycling.
Bad idea: leaving it all out in a huge mess while I sit down to blog.

Good idea: cleaning out my nightstand corner in the bedroom.
Bad idea: stopping to read in journals, birth info, and greeting cards dating back to the Stone Age.

Good idea: deciding to make noodles this week.
Bad idea: forgetting until 8pm the night before that I still hadn't made the noodle dough, which required 10 minutes of kneading before it could soak all night.

Good idea: laundering Owen's diapers yesterday afternoon.
Bad idea: leaving them in the laundry dryer until 10:15pm, when I had just crawled into bed and remembered that there were no more diapers upstairs for Owen to use in the morning.

Good idea: making delicious & healthy chocolate chips with coconut oil & Rapadura.
Bad idea: using said chocolate chips while baking cookies, with the result of them melting considerably and adding to the general flattening of the cookies.

Good idea: telling Ben & Kyle that it's time to be done with the Wii for the day.
Bad idea: blowing my stack when this leads to numerous interruptions, problems, and injuries during my most inadvisable bloggy time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

easy & frugal: millet cakes

In our family, we have a newcomer on our list of favorite dishes. It is, improbably, millet cakes. I was completely unfamiliar with millet prior to a month or so ago.

For those of you who are the same way, millet is a whole grain that has a long history. It lacks gluten, so it is appropriate for those sensitive to gluten. According to Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions, "Millet is very high in silica, which helps keep the bones flexible as we age."

The first time I cooked millet, I found it very bland. However, at a friend's suggestion, the next time I cooked it in chicken stock. The result was delicious! We usually eat cooked millet as a side dish (similar to having rice with chicken), and use the leftovers to make millet cakes. I'm happy to say that everyone in the family loves this dish, including my ever-so-picky middle child. It makes meals so much sweeter.

Basic Millet directions~
(from Nourishing Traditions)

2 cups whole millet
4 cups filtered water PLUS 4 T. whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk
1 t. sea salt
2-4 T. butter

Soak millet & warm water mixture for at least 7 hours. (If you choose to cook your millet in chicken stock, after it's done soaking you will rinse & drain it, then add 4 cups chicken stock to millet in a pot). In a medium-sized pot, bring to a boil. Skim, reduce heat, stir in salt & butter & cover tightly. Without removing lid, cook over lowest possible heat for about 45 minutes.


And now...


Millet Cakes

4 cups cooked millet
4 eggs
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped *
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 T. butter
3 T. extra virgin olive oil

Blend eggs with flour & seasonings, fold in millet, onion, cilantro and cheese. Form into patties & saute in a mixture of butter & olive oil.

*I never seem to have fresh cilantro and have never used it in this recipe. I'm sure it would be great, but the recipe is absolutely delicious without it!

Enjoy!

homemade crackers

I've had some requests, and thought I'd share a few cracker recipes here. I've made homemade crackers maybe six times now. The first recipe is still our favorite. The second recipe (which I won't share here) I made was not a big hit. Just recently I made some that everyone except Owen really likes. I think he prefers his crackers a bit on the crumbly side.

Our family's favorite recipe is still the first one I ever made. It's Rich Whole Grain Crackers, and it comes from Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet. Feel free to check out the recipe here. This site always includes great photos as well. I think I rolled these out a bit thicker, and that's why Owen liked them so much. They're really easy for Mr. Six Teeth to eat if they're a bit crumbly.

Last weekend I tried a new recipe, from the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. These are the ladies who also wrote Nourishing Traditions. The recipe is as follows.


Coconut Crackers

2 1/2 cups spelt, kamut, wheat, or rye flour
1 cup plain yogurt
1 t. sea salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, divided
unbleached all-purpose four

Mix flour with yogurt and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place soaked flour, salt, baking powder, and 1/4 cup coconut oil in a food processor and process until well blended.

Roll out to about 1/16 inch on a pastry cloth dusted with all-purpose flour to prevent sticking. Cut into 2-inch squares with a knife (a pizza cutter works beautifully). Place on oiled baking sheets, brush with remaining 1/4 c. coconut oil, and bake in oven for several hours (I baked them for three hours), until dry & crisp.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Happy snacking!

Monday, March 23, 2009

baby Stellan needs our prayers

Prayers for Stellan


***UPDATE***


The news is that Stellan is hanging in there, but had a really bad night. His heartrate is somewhat down, but still not within normal levels. It's a really scary situation, but his parents are trusting the Lord with his life.

If you'd like to read MckMama's own words about trusting God through this, click here.

Please keep praying!



Original Post:

Last fall I asked for prayer for a sweet babe who was about to be born. He's the fourth child of MckMama from My Charming Kids, and according to what the doctors said when he was in utero, he shouldn't have even lived to the day of his birth.

But he was born, and has been gloriously healthy, aside from an encounter with RSV in December. Now precious Stellan is in the hospital again, with a dangerously high heart rate. Please pray or him, for his mother, and the whole family. It's been hours since any update, and this is getting worrisome.


Lord, You know the situation. This doesn't surprise you or catch you off guard. I know that you hold Stellan in the palm of your hand. Please surround his parents with peace during this time, and help the medical staff to know the right thing to do. We know that you are the Healer, the Great Physician, and we offer Stellan up to you. Thank you for being a good God. You are worthy of praise, come what may. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

"Not me!" Monday

Here is another Monday, which brings us to another edition of "Not me!" Monday, the blog carnival from MckMama at My Charming Kids. I just love her charming blog!

And to give you fair warning, I shall be reluctantly taking a little bloggy break from "Not me!" Mondays for a while....probably until the end of April. That is, unless I come up with some really good material and a few free minutes. Ah, I'll miss this cathartic confessional! So without further ado, here I go on my last lap 'round the track...

I'm sure that annoucement caused great mourning and wailing all across the globe.

First things first: we did totally, utterly not strike a deal on the house we want to buy! We absolutely did not hear on Friday evening that the bank accepted our counter-counter-offer, and on April 22 we will not begin moving into our new home! It is not at all beautiful and roomy, and I am not having a ball arranging furniture in my mind. I am certainly not considering asking Jeff to draw up another one of his room diagram-thingys with the little rectangles & square that represent to-scale furniture. Nope, not me!

And I am definitely not a little aghast at the state of my house, already. We have not just barely begun to pack, and the house is not already a disaster. But if I were, and it was, I would not be assured that in the end it will all be well worth it...

Totally not considering putting a hold on all sink- and toilet-scrubbing until right before we vacate the premises. That would be just gross.

I am not super excited that our realtor has agreed to take us to the house again this week, so the boys can actually see the inside of the place before moving day. And I am not planning to take my camera along so that I can do more in-depth mental furniture arranging. No way. That would be a little extreme. I mean, I really hate to plan ahead, and have no interest whatsoever in having "all my ducks in a row."

I am definitely not at all tempted to obtain signatures made with blood, to be sure that we will have reliable help during our whirlwind moving week. I am not at all afraid that it will prove to be too great a task, and that coincidentally people who have offered their help will turn out to be busy-- they are weekdays, after all. Nope, no desire to draw up contracts at all.

Now if you'll excuse me, I don't have an entire household to pack up...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

the gasp heard 'round the world

Alright, that could possibly be something of an overstatement.

All the same, I did give a gasp of astonishment when I read the ingredient list on the box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. And it was pretty dramatic.

We're not big corn flake people. In fact, we have traditionally tended to buy corn flakes primarily to top casseroles. And that's exactly why we had this box. However, this past week we were a wee bit low on snack food, and on a whim I offered corn flakes to my boys. Dry, in a bowl. Maybe they would pretend that they were eating ultra-thin crackers. I was actually pretty surprised when they liked them. Not displeased, but surprised.

Again, we were low on snack food. In fact, we were getting pretty low on a lot of foods (I'm still figuring out this shop-once-a-week-on-a-budget thing). We were pretty much out of bread. I hadn't made crackers for a while. They were eating into my cashew stockpile, and getting weary of pistacios. So once again, I found myself reaching for the Corn Flakes...this time for Owen. He had barely started munching when I glanced at the side of the box, and--

"What?!"

It reads: "Ingredients: milled corn, sugar, malt flavoring, high fructose corn syrup, salt."

Ugh. Ew. Gross. I mean, this isn't one of those blatantly sugary cereals...you know, the ones with chocolate and technicolor marshmallows. These are corn flakes. And yes, there is another list, which begins with the words "Vitamins and Iron." But you know what? Somehow I'm not convinced that these are vitamins the body can really use. It's this list of unpronounceable, synthetic vitamins.

The fact is, it's incredibly important to read labels. Because these days, the ingredient lists are, frankly, appalling. There is very little food in our food these days. It's small wonder that our country is in the poorest health it's had for years. God did not design our bodies to live off of man-made consumables. He designed us to fuel our bodies with food.

In How to Stay Young and Healthy in a Toxic World, Ann Louise Gittleman says, "Sugar is not an innocent substance that gives us pleasure and causes no harm. Quite the contrary; there is perhaps nothing else in the diet that promotes disease and aging more over the long term than excess sugar." Her report of the increase in the consumption of "nutrient-robbing sugar" is alarming. "At the end of the 1700s, sugar consumption was less than 20 pounds per person per year. By the end of the 1800s, sugar consumption had risen to 63 pounds annually. Now, 100 years later, the average American eats 0ver 170 pounds of sugar each year." (emphasis mine)

To loosely paraphrase Dave Ramsey, if that's normal, I don't want to be normal.

The news has been full of reports of the rising number of people struggling with obesity. According to Jordan Rubin, author of Perfect Weight America, "If present trends continue, the percentage of overweight American adults will increase from 67 percent to 75 percent by 2015, portending profound effects on individuals, families, and even the nation's public health."

Please hear this: I'm not perfect. I don't eat "perfectly," nor does my family. We are only just beginning to turn our diet around. I'm still trying to strike a balance in terms of what my kids eat. I don't want to be the crazy, wacko mom who causes everyone to roll their eyes. Maybe I'm already there. It's possible.

But the truth is, I am appalled at the trends in our country today. And I'm truly worried about where it will end in terms of our national health.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

sold!

We've had an exciting week here! Last Friday we had someone come through the house, and a mere two hours later, he made made an offer. It was pretty low, so we responded with a counteroffer. Then on Sunday night we heard that the man was coming to look again, with his wife this time. No pressure or anything! His wife hadn't seen it before he made the offer; I was beside myself, trying to leave everything just so.

At any rate, we heard later that night: we had a deal! So, our house is essentially sold...aside from the inspections and the details, closing, etc. We're just praying that everything will go smoothly from here on out.

In other (related) news, last night Jeff and I made an offer on a house. It's vacant, and owned by the bank. We're really excited about it ~ the home is spacious, and in good shape, with a nice kitchen, a large dining area (musts for me!) and a lovely big utility room. I have never had a utility room! Lastly, this home has a yard. It's not a fantastic yard, but it's essentially a blank slate. I'm sure it will be a while before we do anything with it, but at least it's there, and someday...

Our buyer wants to close April 21st, and take possession two days later. (*Gulp!*) We're trying to time this all very carefully. Our purchase is contingent on the sale going through...so no overlap. We are going to be working like crazy to get out of here in time.

If anyone has words of wisdom about moving with kids, please feel free to share! We used to be expert movers, but that was before we became parents. Moving with children (and all their stuff) is more than a little intimidating.

And please pray for us. We're so thankful for all that God has done. Still, the next month will be filled with packing and working out the details. We're so excited, and nervous, overwhelmed, and making plans. There is so much to do, and I'm sure it will be stressful. There's no doubt that it will be worth it in the end...but first we have to get there!

Monday, March 16, 2009

hitching a ride

video

"Not me!" Monday

It's time for another Monday, another day of "Not me!" Monday, the cathartic carnival created by the charming mother of charming kids, MckMama. Check out her wonderful blog here.

I certainly did not have my 6-year-old son inform me that he likes "the floor upstairs better, because you can't feel the crumbs on your feet up there." Nope, absolutely not. Because as much as my dear husband slaved over installing the laminate on our ground floor, I sweep it religiously. I never let a single, solitary crumb remain on it for even a minute. Especially not when I cook.

Because I am the cleanest cook ever. You'd better believe it.

I did not just finish my second week of using the "envelope system," as per Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. And I certainly haven't liked it. No way. That would just be sick & wrong.

I definitely did not grudgingly agree to having another Open House this weekend. Nope, not me!
I am full of stamina and have lots of extra energy for getting my house in tip-top shape. What does it matter if we've had a horrid week and are still not feeling up to par? No fear...

....And, we did not get an offer on our house last week! Nope. But if we did, the details would not be complete yet, and there would be a lot that still needed to be hashed out. But it certainly would be encouraging, huh? Hypothetically.

Friday, March 13, 2009

overheard

1) Kyle, while riding in the van out in the country, "Ben! The mountain is following us!!"

2) Discussing what kind of "learning laptop" they would like: "I would like a Jesus learning laptop!"

3) Kyle, going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about what they've been doing on the Indiana Jones game for the Wii.

4) Ben: "Do you know what I think, Mom? I think that Santa Claus sleeps in the daytime and is awake a night. Because, he delivers the toys at night, and stuff."

*I must point out here that we have never endorsed the whole "Santa is real" thing, and we've shared with him the truth about it all. He seems determined to talk about Santa being a real person, however.

5) A very sick Ben, on his way from the pediatrician's office to get a chest X-ray "Can't you just take me home and then go get the X-ray, Dad?"**

**"Overheard" via text message. :)

p-neumonia

That's what my dad used to call it-- jokingly, of course. "If you go outside with that wet hair, you could get p-neumonia." Other unique turns of phrase include moo juice (milk) and cackleberries (eggs). I know there were more, but it's a bit early in the morning at the moment...

Back to the point at hand. Pneumonia. Why on earth am I writing about this? Because it has invaded our home. That's right, Benjamin has pneumonia. The poor child has been miserable since mid-night on Tuesday. That's when the high fever struck.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. When Ben's temperature got up to 104 -- again -- I decided to call the dr's office. If nothing else, I wanted advice. The nurse advised me to have him seen. During his appointment, the doctor sent him to the hospital for a chest X-ray, and the rest is history.

Now, thanks to a shot in the bum, my sweet boy is looking the best I've seen him in days. I hope he is more like himself today. Neither Jeff nor I have ever dealt with pneumonia, and it's a rather scary word for me. But those meds have really helped (and fast!) so far. Thanks be to God...not to mention Dr. Eki.

this mom's boy

Kyle painted this during school this week. It's a picture of a play structure, but...check out what he wrote at the top?


Yep, that's right. "Mom." My 3-year-old wrote "mom." Made my week!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

the incredible, edible egg


I was beyond pleased at a discovery I made earlier this week. On my drive to get our raw milk this week, I decided to stop by a sign I'd noticed on a previous trip. At a private residence, a cheerful yellow house, was a sign that read "Fresh Eggs for Sale." I'd always thought about stopping, but I had never taken the plunge before. This week, I did.

And I was so thrilled! The woman who lives there is the nicest lady, the eggs I bought were a mere two days old, and at a simply amazing price. I love that I've found a way to buy fresh, healthy eggs for a mere fraction of what I've been paying at the grocery store.

I adore eggs. They're so versatile, and carry a lot of nutritional punch. For more on the benefits of eating eggs, click here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Owen's birthday: the loot

This is the last installment of pictures from Owen's birthday, I promise!

He kept trying to sit on all the presents, instead of showing any interest in opening them...

Forget the card, Mama...I wanna sit on more presents!
Oooh, instruments!

And a fun farm-themed toy

A new hat! I like!

And a little something to get me rolling.

It was a fun day. Thanks, everyone!

Monday, March 9, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Another week of "Not me!" Monday, a la MckMama from My Charming Kids. I encourage you to check out her blog~ it offers humor, inspiration, helpful ideas, and gorgeous photographs.

I absolutely did not bake and decorate the ugliest cake ever, for my sweet son's very first birthday. He is an light in our lives, and definitely deserves a lovely cake. I do not totally need to keep experimenting with cake recipes, in hopes of eventually finding something that is worthy of a birthday...

...And we certainly didn't laugh and encourage Owen when he started making such a mess with his cake crumbs. No way would we do that!

I definitely didn't talk my poor mom's ear off about my new style of cooking, coconut oil, and other assorted food topics. Nope, not me! I would never get excited and forget for a minute that a face to face conversation isn't quite the same platform as a blog.

Speaking of Le Blog, I have not posted an obnoxious amount of photos lately, nearly all of them featuring the Birthday Boy. Because I am all about balance and the visual effect, and I would never pile a photo-packed post upon another photo-packed post. Certainly not. Variety is the spice of life, after all...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Owen's birthday: the cake

We had a relaxed family celebration for Owen's first birthday. My parents were able to visit for part of the weekend, and Jeff's parents came across town for lunch and a little partying with us.

Here we are at the lunch table. In Owen's honor, we had Baked Macaroni & Cheese, veggies & dip, apple slices & banana chunks, cake, & ice cream.

For Owen's cake I decided on Spiced Cake with Buttercream Frosting. I believe that it is the ugliest cake ever created. And while I wasn't very pleased with the finished product, it was ok.

After he was served, Owen examined what this thing was...

...and decided to give it a whirl. He thought it over...

...took a second bite...

...and the rest is birthday history!

He loved eating his cake...and playing with the crumbs...the plate...

...and ended up being a very messy Birthday Boy.

But what a way to celebrate!

Owen is 1!

Happy 1st birthday to my sweet Owen!

Here he is enjoying his very first birthday cake:


Laughing at 9 months


Looking mischevious at 6 months


Precious at 3 months

Owen on March 8, 2008...just a few hours old.
It's been a wonderful, happy, sweet, precious year with my boy. He is such a joyous addition to our family! We love you, Owen, and we thank God for you.