Thursday, April 28, 2011

Facebook is quicker, but blogging is dandy

So the Jedis went to school on Tuesday after many days off, and the return to routine has been good. I am a happier mom when things are at least a bit more consistent, and they're happier too. M-girl came down with a tummy flu on Wednesday morning, vomiting all over a pile of clean clothes that I had been putting off sorting for size and season. So I washed those in addition to quite a bit more laundry. Then our water turned orange and ruined a few things, but mostly socks. Apparently the water issue had to do with the fire dept doing hydrant maintenance and stirring up sediment. This was the worst we'd seen of this phenomenon, but at least our drinking water is well filtered enough to not be orange. I went to the water dept and got some mineral remover for appliances and fixtures. The water is fine now, and I'll be cleaning the washer tonight.

M also has really bad diaper rash from her flu problems, and she woke up from a nap with it so bad that she screamed for over half an hour before we went to get the boys. I just got a call from the doc saying I can put prescription burn cream on it. Great! It's soothing, it has antibacterial medicine in it, and the cream wipes on and off pretty easily, and I have an unopened jar from my burn in November. Her bum looks very painful! As a precaution, I'm doing a long hot soak of her diapers with double detergent and oxiclean to sanitize them. I have enough disposables on hand to get by, and I might as well use them so I don't get cream built up on the diapers.

The best part of today so far has been a visit to the obstetrician this morning. Dr.O' had some time to join me this morning, and I was so glad he did! We timed the drive and got there in 11 minutes. We were in the exam room with the nurse quickly. I had stayed the same weight since he last visit but had gained 2 pounds since my first visit there. I'm guessing I've put on about 8 pounds. The nurse probed my belly extensively with the Doppler but could not find the heartbeat, unusual at nearly 14 weeks! The normally chatty nurse got very quiet and went to get the doctor. Dan came and grabbed my hand and I cried a few tears. We agreed that we'd be okay. Sad, but okay. If this baby just wasn't going to be with us, we would accept that God is sovereign. Lots of drama, I know, but the nurse seemed concerned, and I've never felt quite certain in this pregnancy. The doctor came in and immediately put the ultrasound wand to my belly, where the baby's beating heart was going strong. We saw what my late grandfather would've termed a "well-formed head", a long spinal column, little limbs, tiny kidneys, a face in profile. Stunning. Fragile yet strong. Amazing. Life is beautiful! I'm going to feel a wee bit of anxiety until this person is in my arms and at my breast, and then I'll have the usual lifetime of Generalized Motherhood Anxiety that I already have for my other fantastic little people. I can manage that just fine!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Open-ended structure today

The Jedis have yet another day off today. I kick myself occasionally for not traveling to see family on Easter weekend, but we really want to be with our own church community for Triduum services. Yesterday was nutty with the kids, but I was so glad to celebrate with our congregation and to eat a festive meal in our own home. The kids get stir-crazy after this many days home, so I'm weighing the possibilities for today.

I have a La Leche meeting today, but I don't know how well the Jedis will do in a room full of littles. They definitely need to clean their room today because it is littered with Easter candy wrappers and LEGOs and is due for a vacuuming. Mara's room is trashed as well because of her naptime ransacking.

Dr. O' has to grade 20+ papers, so he's going to take advantage of a quiet campus today. He is also planning coursework for 2 classes that he's teaching this summer. I'm so thankful for his help at home and his hard work to support us! We are trying to get the money to pay for a van without taking out a loan, or only take a loan for a few months. We'll definitely have to trade in our beloved Honda CR-V, but it will be great to have a vehicle with lots of room.

I woke up every 2 hours last night and was awake for the day at 5am. I've been in bed sipping coffee, nibbling baklava, listening to This American Life, and feeling the newbie moving around in my belly, a quartet of peaceful pleasures! I think watching a movie will be on the schedule so M and I get a nap.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Preparations

I got moving this morning and managed to get 3 dozen Easter-themed sugar cookies rolled, cut, and baked. The challenge is to keep the kids from sneaking them before I can get them iced! I took a rest because of some Braxton Hicks contractions and then made baklava for the first time. It was so easy! I can't believe I haven't done it before, and it's definitely going to be a holiday tradition for us.

Dr. O' stayed home yesterday to help out and had to go in to catch up today on grading. M-girl was my constant shadow during baking and is down for a nap now, although I can hear that she's not sleeping yet. The Jedis are watching Veggie Tales and wearing capes because they're nutty. I-M helped me put the Easter tablecloth out, and we'll do a touch-up cleaning this evening. For now I am doing my medically mandatory relaxing for a few hours and watching Mad Men DVDs in bed. I get so constantly hungry with this bebe, and not gaining a ton of weight is a challenge!

I need to make a quick run for some new polo shirts for the guys to wear to church. Thankfully, M-girl has a box full of pretty dresses to choose from, and I'm set for a dress that I've worn while pregnant before.

Tomorrow's dinner will be a spiral-sliced ham, some kind of potatoes, broccoli and cheese, fresh bread, veg stuffed peppers, and Key Lime Pie, yummy! We'll be at church in the morning and enjoying some family time at home for the rest of the day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blip, blip, blip!

So I've kinda been mentioning quite a bit of tiredness and some medical appointments. If you check in often, you might have pieced a few things together. The Crowded Kitchen is getting more crowded with love and noise! I am really excited to be 13 weeks pregnant on Easter, with the due date around Halloween, eek! It has not been an easy pregnancy, which is a bit unusual for me. I have had a few scares, but things are fine, as evidenced by 2 ultrasounds. I am under orders to rest with my feet up 4 hours/day and not to lift anything, which is challenging with a toddler! I am heartened to feel the blippy movements of a new little life every day now. The whole family is thrilled, and the Jedis have temporarily dubbed the baby Yoda, which will assuredly change once we know the gender. I think we may even have names narrowed down! A-man is certain that newbie will be a Jedi Master, and I think he might be disappointed! M-girl also thinks she has a new baby in her tummy, and she stuffs things in her shirt to show me. I don't need to stuff anything; I'm showing pretty obviously.

I have found a reasonable caregiver and am confident in my hospital choice, which is not the one 2 minutes from home but is rather an Ohio hospital 10 minutes away. I wanted to do a homebirth this time, but no CNM's serve the area, and a lay midwife 90 minutes away isn't for us, especially since my practitioners missed my last 2 births, and my first 2 babies had meconium. There is a stellar birth center an hour away in Pittsburgh, but that's just too far for us to risk! I settled on a doc who does a lot of c-sections because he handles a lot of high-risk pregnancies, not because he pushes too much intervention, according to some local mom friends. He supports my choices to go as natural as possible and thinks we'll manage just fine with my history, so I'm happy. I have a superb birth coach in my husband, who figures the doc will miss this birth, anyway!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Highlight of my day...

A-man gives a spirited Our Father, aka The Lord's Prayer. He's destined for ministry, or prison, or prison ministry. ;). The last one's already part of our familial heritage :).

Ugh, routine is off, so everything is off!

A 2-hour delay for teacher in-service has thrown us off today! Dr. O' also doesn't have classes today because of Easter break, so we are all home and feeling very much out-of-sync, the way weekends used to feel. Dr. O' is coping by flying a helicopter in the house, much to the delight of the Jedis and the consternation of M-girl, on whose head it crash landed. I'm not bothering to put IM in school since he has a lunchtime therapy appointment and doesn't transition well, anyway. Two hours before lunch and an hour after the appt isn't enough time for him to settle in, and they always forget to have him ready to go on time. So A-man will go to school in 45 minutes, IM will have the day off, M-girl will stay home with Daddy, and I will be able to take IM to his appt without having to wake up and haul a grumpy toddler along. That redeems the day being out-of-sync for sure! Tonight we have the Maundy Thursday communion service, tomorrow everyone is home, then the Good Friday service, egg dyeing on Saturday, and finally Easter Sunday! I want this week to go well and for the spiritual aspects to not be overshadowed by the change in routine!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Wow, so I made my first batch of kefir, and it turned out fine! It's a weird taste for sure and definitely needs some flavor enhancement to be truly palatable. I added honey and cinnamon to mine and downed 4 ounces quickly. I don't care for milk, especially if it's been open in the fridge a few days, but this was not an offensive taste, just yogurty with a hint of carbonation and slight vinegar note, also reminiscent of buttermilk. It'll keep longer than milk in my fridge and provides a rich source of probiotics that yogurt doesn't. I've had stomach issues my whole life, so I'm hoping this gives me better health, especially since I've just been on an antibiotic. I'm hoping to sneak it into some smoothies for the rest of the family as well.

So my kefir process is to put the grains into a clean glass jar with cold milk added. I stir a bit and put a plastic zipper bag over the top, followed by a canning jar ring. The plastic is loose enough to allow for some expansion of the gases. I leave it on the counter for 48 hours, then give it a little shake to loosen the cultures from the starter grains. Then I have a snap-on straining lid that I use to strain the kefir into another clean canning jar, which I then put a canning lid on and put in the fridge. Then I rinse the grains with a bit of cold milk, strain again, and cover the grains with a few tablespoons of milk and put that starter back into the fridge until I'm ready to make more. Very easy. I made a pint first, and I'll be drinking 4-6oz/day, so I think it'll be a 1-2x/wk procedure in addition to the yogurt that I make 2-3 gallons of weekly right now.

Monday, April 18, 2011

70 degrees and sunny in Wheeling today

I'm just saying ;)

Weekend recap and beginning of Holy Week

Nice happy weekend here with no major exhaustion to speak of. M-girl had her friendly flora knocked out by omnicef and had a rough time with tummy issues, but that was pretty much the only snag. I got some kefir grains and am currently culturing the first batch. Yogurt- making is still going fine, and I'm hoping to make smoothies of both mixed together with some fruit.

I made 5 lovely pints of freezer jam yesterday, and it is quite a hit! Dr. O' and I both prefer it to cooked jam. I used to make it often, but it was one of the many things that were left by the wayside in the wake of the move. A friend told me it takes a year to settle in and be really happy here, and she's right. I just suddenly lost touch with who I am and what I'm good at, then I had some serious personal setbacks that really made me question who I was and what I could handle. Much ado to describe why I wasn't making jam, but it's nice to rediscover the things that make life easier and that make me happy. Now bread and yogurt-making are back in full swing, cloth diapering is going fine, the heat is hardly kicking on, and I feel like our expenses are pretty manageable, which always makes me happy!

We got the upstairs rooms cleaned up and vacuumed yesterday, so the kids have room to play up there, which they love. I need to do the dreaded sorting of clothes and switching out the off-season clothes in M's room. She keeps opening the bins and dumping them all over during her naptime, naughty wee thing! I haven't put them away because I keep looking for warm weather clothes in them. Dr. O' also vacuumed the downstairs, kept the laundry running, made dinner (spaghetti and meatballs from the freezer), and killed the big nasty spider that I kept finding in my dirty laundry pile in the basement, ew!

I'm looking forward to this Holy Week, our first in our new church family. It's such a blessing to feel settled in a loving community! Another blessing is keeping up with our friends the Haleys who are in the Holy Land and are giving us a great window into the sacred celebrations that they are there to witness and participate in. Love you guys!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bread and playdough, or the Sandwich Islands

So yesterday we got messy in the kitchen. The kids made a huge fun mess with playdough, which is now on hiatus as my nerves recover. Worth it for peace on a rainy day. Dr.O' and I made waaayyyy too much bread yesterday, furthering the kitchen disaster. I worked to keep the messes separate, using a table as an island to keep the playdough off the work surfaces and out of our food. He made 3 loaves of banana bread and one loaf of sun-dried tomato basil bread, and I made 2 loaves of ciabatta bread. In addition, we had bought some marble rye because I'd really been wanting a hot ham and Swiss, and he makes a portabello sandwich on rye. For dinner we recreated our favorite sandwiches from restaurants. His is Panera's Mediterranean Veggie on tomato bread. It has hummus (which I had made on Friday), tomato, cucumber, onion, lettuce, and a jarred red pepper. Mine is from Fiddler's in South Bend, a ciabatta bread chicken sandwich with herbed cream cheese, a jarred pepper marinated in balsamic vinegar, and a bit of onion. I baked some fries and dipped them in curry sauce, and they were just like the ones at Fiddler's Hearth! A pint and my best friend would've completed the effect, but I got the food right at least! Last night I got the kitchen mess cleaned up and even mopped, warning the kids not to ask about playdough today. The happiest part of all this kitchen hoopla is that I won't have to cook until Tuesday!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I have been fighting a battle of wills for years with one of my children, and it heated up over the last two days. Now I have won. It's pretty awesome, short lived as my victory might be. That's all right. I'll have a countermove when I need one.

Rolling in dough...

I'm going to make a large quantity of playdough today because of the sudden spike in interest in our house. I still have cheap white flour left over from Christmas cookie bacchanal. I don't really use enough white flour to keep this quantity around, and it's probably stale anyway. I'm researching recipes with and without cream of tartar since I don't have any on hand. I've also been thinking about koolaid scented dough since we already use dough with food coloring. I haven't ever bought koolaid mix since we had kids, and I'm not sure they know what it is. II think it might smell really gross when the flavors get mixed together, so maybe we'll try one flavor and of course won't eat it! The upside is that it won't smell like Pladoh, which I think is gross! I think glitter might be nice to add in as long as it sticks to the dough and not everything else! A-man and M-girl are especially into playdough and enjoy playing with it together, which is a blessing to see! :)

A bit later: the playdough is nice and soft, and the dumb dog eats it. I used baking powder instead of cream of tartar and used a boiling water recipe. It's still white but has a bit of orange oil to scent it. Hooray for nearly-free playdough!

I am accustomed to sleeping.

I feel as if I have a newborn tonight. M woke up screaming a bit ago. I really hope its not her ear still infected! She's not fevering, she didnt have a bad diaper, and I don't really know if she has bad dreams. I changed her and gave her some vanilla soy milk, and she smilled and said "okay, thanks momma". Probably was a bad dream, but a far cry from the night terrors we used to see with the Jedis. I hear her thumping a bit up in her room above mine, and I hope she's not thinking it's time to play! YAWWWNNN!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Culinary skills recouped and naptime victory

After a bad dinner last night (which D said wasn't terrible), this morning I got started in the kitchen with M-girl on a stool at my side. I marvel at the delightful blessing of such a sweet little girl who asks all the time "momma, what makin?" and says "I help too!". She insists on an apron and that I wear one too. This morning we made 24 whole wheat pumpkin muffins, one loaf of whole wheat bread, and 1/2 gallon of yogurt. M enjoyed kitchen gear so much that I dug our play-doh toys out of the basement. We had one fresh cup of red play-doh from Christmas, and she spent 90 minutes playing with it!

I've still been tinkering with her naps, and the strategy that seems to work best is to give her the half teaspoon dose of Benadryl that she needs for allergies at 10am. Then she's tired and ready to breathe freely during her nap. Her pediatrician wants her on antihistamine to keep from getting congested and developing another sinus infection. For 2 days it has worked splendidly!

Dinner was much better tonight! I make a mean chicken noodle soup! I cheated slightly by starting with a frozen bag of carrots, celery, and onions. I made this batch first with no chicken for Dr. O' and then added some baked chicken to the pot once he got enough for his dinner. Usually I put tiny pasta like stars or letters in it, but I used whole wheat linguine broken up into 2-inch segments, and they ended up like a healthier and yummier version of the noodles in Campbell's soup. I seasoned it with the last of my Essenhaus broth paste :(, which means I need to go to Indiana sometime soon :). The other seasonings are bay leaves, fresh black pepper, and parsley. It was delicious, everyone ate it, and there's just enough for my lunch!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dinner = fail

Bleh, bad dinner night! I made some fried rice from a box and some stir fry with a sauce from the freezer. Salty, overseasoned mess! Should've done plain rice or no sauce on the stir fry!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Analyze This...

I-M is home a bit extra this morning because of a therapy appointment, after which he will go to school. He's seeing a great counselor for his impulsivity and his anxiety (which leads to more impulsivity!). Thank heavens he has hit his deductible for the year! They have moved the office from a nice little complex near Oglebay to a crappy and cramped space downtown, where it is really difficult to keep M happy and entertained at the new place, so I'll make sure the iPod is charged and loaded with Caillou! Definite hardship to go there but I want to help him learn to mellow out without putting him on meds for the time being.

A bit later: the therapist is so excellent! What a help with working through the things that stress my son and cause him to feel worthless. It breaks my heart for him to feel this way, but I'm learning that it helps to have him hear positive messages of support and challenging strategies for success from someone other than his parents. He knows that we're biased and have to love him, but he hears things from her and seems to find them more objective. Also great to know that she's a Christian and that she is the mom of a similar child. Getting to this office is a pain, but I'm finding it increasingly helpful! She did some good chatting with him today about some interpersonal trouble he was having at school and helped to see why his current strategy wasn't working.

Friday, April 8, 2011

No MOPS, just mopping

So little A-man is home due to kindergarten pre-screening at his school today. He's at the height of his glory with lots of LEGOs and lots of plans! A & M have a stack of Veggie Tales VHS tapes out for a marathon today. I-M is furious about not being able to stay home too, so A and I are planning some surprises. We'll make a treat to celebrate the 15th anniversary of when D and I started dating, which is tomorrow. We'll have to see whether we can pull off anything else. Definitely having pizza tonight.

I was talking to Dr. O' last night about the MOPS meeting today. If I were to go, I should pay the $44 dues. However, I don't enjoy MOPS. I was trying so hard to go and to enjoy myself, but I just didn't. I told him about how I'd show up on time, get M settled in the nursery, and go sit at my assigned table where I had nothing in common with the other moms. Just so not my tribe. I never felt so bored or so lonely. It was so isolating! The discussion stuff was just silly, and my options were to keep mum or totally out myself as THAT mom who goes overboard with the crunchiness and the homemaking. He was so sad to hear how hard MOPS was for me and agreed that it would be far better for me to spend the money elsewhere. Like a lot of things here, there's an established group that gets something out of the activities because they're involved and they're with their friends. Same situation with the kids' school activities for parents. I'm relieved to have heard from other moms that they have felt the same way, like the people at their table were a tight group of friends, and they felt like unwelcome extras. While I know that some of how I come across to other moms can be problematic, I know it's not all me!

I haven't been back since I met some more like-minded moms, and I can be myself with them. There are some wonderful mommas who are part of the attachment parenting groups that I enjoy who also go to MOPS. Those mommas are great, and I'm glad they get something out of MOPS, which shows that it does serve a purpose for a wide range of mothers. I know a lot of time and effort and planning and money go into the program, and I'm glad it helps a lot of moms. Personally, I can't justify the time or the cost when I've got a lot of other things I should be doing, like actual mopping.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Looking forward to summer cooking!

Yeah, so I find food endlessly interesting, yet I do get into a rut now and then. Currently, I'm wishing that chips and salsa provided complete nutrition, but alas, they don't! I do have 3 leftover sofrito chicken burritos from last night's dinner. They've got rice, beans, cheese, chicken, and sofrito sauce made from mostly peppers and onions, all of which are packed into a whole wheat tortilla. Now I'm just waiting for M to go down for her nap so I don't have to share (she's already had lunch and will only manage to share her germs with me!).

Tonight will be falafel for Dr. O' and me. The kids are having the hot dogs they've been lobbying for all week! Tomorrow A-man will be home because his school has screening for next year's kindergarteners. He wants to stay home and play with toys, and I won't have to think about what to make for dinner since it's Friday- homemade pizza night! I have some ham and pineapple to put on part of one, and I'll make some roasted red pepper and feta pizza for Dr. O'. The kids will enjoy plain cheese pizza.

I can't believe we're coming to the end of another week, and school will be out in 8 weeks! Before that we will be grilling, and all summer, we'll be picking and freezing and eating berries! Berries with everything! I'm currently using the oven to make bread 2 days a week, but this summer I'll be using the bread machine daily to make sure we have fresh bread without heating up the house or having to pay close attention to the process.

Edit: forgot it's Lent and Friday, so ham and pineapple pizza will wait until tomorrow!

Happy playtime outdoors!

We are enjoying running and rolling on the hill on nice days now! The dirt and the grass stains and the baths and the time spent scrutinizing the yard for dog waste are worthwhile when the kids have a chance to run off energy instead of getting tired of each other in the house all the time. The evening goes by much faster with lots of time outdoors, with quick dashes in to make dinner, move laundry, do homework, and finally take baths before bed. Let's all raise a size-appropriate dose of Zyrtec in celebration of spring!

In other news, I tell my Jedis not to use their teeth to separate LEGOs, but I-M did so anyway last night. To his surprise, the tooth popped right out! Good thing it was supposed to!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unproductive morning, meh.

M-girl is tolerating the first dose given last night very well. She is making the switch to soy milk at the same time since my kids don't do well on Omnicef with milk, anyway. I'm hoping the soy milk will help with her eczema, too. She is very energetic this morning, but her energy wasn't flagging too badly anyway, which is why I took a while to decide to take her to the doctor. I was eating this morning, and she kept running through the house to get a bite of my cereal, then running back to the living room to watch Super Why, then back for another bite. That's good energy and a good appetite! I offered her some cereal in her own bowl, and she jumped for joy. Too cute! A bit later I was munching on some popcorn and she asked for some. She dumped hers into a nearby trash can and then walked off with the can as if it was an appropriate vessel for food. Naturally, I stopped that before any popcorn was consumed!

The stupid dog is on my bad list this morning. She crawled under the fence into the neighbor's yard, which is adjacent to a yard where there is a cute Jack Russell. I tricked her into coming back into our yard and dragged her into her cage. Then I hefted 3 20lb bricks up the hill to block her from doing this again.

I can't get any motivation to get started this morning. I did a bit of rearranging in the kitchen, but I've been up for 4 hours without any further progress. I would like to make bread, put away the junk everyone has left anywhere, and do 2 loads of laundry. Doesn't sound like much, but it seems overwhelming with the week I'm having. I think I can commit to 10 minutes per room between now and 3pm. Not so unreasonable, but M tends to undo things as I go!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nubby on Omnicef :(

After 7 years of parenting, I still have occasional doubts about whether it's worthwhile to take a kid to the doctor. However, I'm usually right. Today I took M-girl, aka Nubby, to the pediatrician after about a month of cruddy coughs, pinkeye, mild fevers, general grumpitude, and copious snot production. The mucus was becoming more colorful (bleck!), so I took her in today. Sure enough, she has AOM in the right ear despite tubes, plus bronchitis and sinusitis. I have to remind myself for later that this girl rarely gets high fevers from a bacterial infection, but she does fever quite high when she has a fever-inducing virus. She has been dealing with allergies that have made her immunities weaker, so she's on 3 months of daily Zyrtec. In addition, she's on an oral steroid susp. and on Omnicef for 10 days, which means diarrhea. We made it to 2 stores before the doctor, and she was a total trooper, better behaved than the Jedis at the same age on a healthy day. She's a nice little nub!

Edit: Target had no pharmacist on duty! Last time they didn't have our meds! I like to go there because I get $10 gift cards for each new scrip, but it's a bit of a drive when I have several nearby pharmacies. So I went to the Sprawlmart across the street and took care of business. I did get some gentian violet there to treat the ensuing yeast mess that will surely come from this round of Omnicef. Lord, have mercy!

Happy Momma

After a hard morning's work, I got girlie down for a nap, had a shower, and am cozied down with some butterfinger ice cream and some Netflix, Ahhhhh!

Edit: Relaxation was short-lived! M was awake an hour later with junk in the trunk. I cut my losses on the nap and decided to get half our grocery shopping done before picking up the Jedis. We made it out to the first store and back to the bus stop in exactly an hour. Then I went through the Kroger near our home with all 3 kids. They cut me some slack and were very well behaved! Their sweetness even elicited an sharp comment from a mom I know from the area whose kids are pretty nutty. And this was after A-man complimented her on how cute her kids were. Fortunately, I know she's always like that, so I didn't take offense.

Following the Kroger run, we had just enough time to pick up Dr. O' and drop him with the Jedis and the groceries at the house before M and I went to her pediatrician's, which is fortunately only 5 minutes away from our door to the waiting room. Glad I took her, and more on that in the next post!

Monday, April 4, 2011

On moral imperatives and banana bread

I forgot to mention in my previous post that my husband also cleaned out the car this weekend in addition to removing 2 carloads of recycling and shop-vac-ing the basement. He's just the bees knees!

It takes a theologian to make a statement regarding a moral imperative and baked goods. Tonight he said "well, I should bake SOMETHING". After some discussion of the gustatory preferences of the household, he chose to make 3 loaves of banana bread, yum! Caraway rye will have to wait, as will pumpkin muffins.

April Showers!

We've had lovely warmth outdoors today, but since M was ill overnight, we've been indoors resting. We've has 2 solicitations at the door today, and the phone has kept ringing with other unsolicited contacts, which have left our neurotic pooch a nervous wreck! I fell asleep (2 hours' sleep lost last night!) after lunch and missed my best friend's call :(. Now that it's nearly time to pick up the Jedis from the bus stop, a thunderstorm is brewing! Fortunately there are several positives for my afternoon. M has had a fantastic nap following a bath. The Jedis owe me 45 minutes of work for stinky attitudes, so their room will be sparkling this afternoon. My basement may leak a tiny bit from the rain, but Dr.O' cleaned it so thoroughly yesterday that nothing will get wet. Dinner will be steamed veggies, baked chicken, and long grain rice pilaf. Easy stuff, and hopefully I can be patient after my sleep deficit!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

This is a soup that I loved at a restaurant in the town where Dr.O' and I met, married, and had I-M.

I just realized that I had never tried to replicate it, so I decided to try today. I knew the kids wouldn't get excited about it, and Dr.O' is off meat, so I could make this comfort food exactly to my taste.

I peeled, diced, and boiled 8 medium potatoes in ham broth. I chopped and sautéed 1 small onion in olive oil, then added that to the boiling potatoes, along with 5 spears of broccoli. When these items were tender, I added some chopped ham and dried parsley. I simmered this and then seasoned it with Adobo and pepper. I used a stick blender to partially purée the soup, then added 1T of butter and 1/2c milk. I thickened the soup with some potato flakes and puréed again. In each bowl, I crushed a few crackers, ground some pepper, and grated Cabot cheddar over the soup.

Not a very specific recipe, but a perfect bowl of comfort!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wee little pocket diaper review

So I bought one bumgenius 4.0 diaper yesterday. It was on sale, and I had reward points from my favorite diaper retailer . So I got a good quality cloth diaper with 2 inserts for $11 delivered free the next day! I washed it this afternoon and put it on M-girl who peed in it immediately. Then she wanted it off to use the potty. She threw the new cloth diaper into the toilet, thus ending our trial run with a new brand of cloth diaper! I think I'll always like the fit and quality of our Fuzzibunz better, but I figured it was worth finding out if we were missing out on anything! I definitely prefer the fabric textures, the fit and look of the FBs on M. The inserts seem to be of nicer quality for my FBs as well. I think that these differences explain the $2/diaper price gap between the two similar products.

As for the absorbency and leak resistance, we'll have to wait for the next diaper laundry day and hope that she doesn't go dunking her diaper stash!

Click on the link below to enter a drawing for a KitchenAid mixer and a year of KAF!

Click here!

All right, y'all, I don't shill for anybody on my blog, but I love KitchenAid's products. My mixer is a thing of beauty and has run perfectly for 4 years and has withstood hard daily use. I'm entering to give one to a special family member who is a grad school spouse, as I was for many years! If you sign up via a link on my blog, we both get an entry. If you win, I do too, and my sister-in-law Paola gets a KitchenAid, which she has wanted for a long time! This giveaway is being promoted by the people at King Arthur Flour, another very fine company. If you've ever had my pizza, you've had a taste of the good work they do inspiring bakers like me!

Feeling more like myself

This transition to a new city has been a struggle, and the trials of first-time home-ownership, particularly of a century-old home, have kept me in a pretty constant state of anxiety, especially after I had a burn, a cracked kneecap, and a sprained ankle all on my right side this winter. I'm feeling like my home and my life are getting more settled, and the kids' routine is much more regular. Dr.O's semester is over in about a month, and the Jedis are off for the summer in 2 months. In the meantime, we have spring weather to look forward to, at least some day!

With my decreased time spent online, I've been getting more rest AND getting more done in my home. This week I've made 6 loaves of whole wheat honey bread, and Dr. O. has made two loaves of caraway rye. I've been making dinners that accommodate Dr. O's lenten meat fast and trying some new recipes. It's Friday, and I'm on the last load of laundry, and the rest is already put away. My sweet husband vacuumed the whole house last night and ran the dishwasher twice. Tonight's dinner is our traditional whole wheat pizza , which I haven't been making for the last few weeks.

I list these things because they are signs of good mental health for me. When my laundry is running smoothly, and I'm grinding 32 cups of wheat to make bread, pizza, and muffins, and I'm excited to be making yogurt, and my counters are clean, and my feet don't have crumbs on them, I'm doing well! I had to throw out my previous yogurt-making gear because a mason jar full of yogurt had a hairline crack and burst while making yogurt, soaking the soft cooler. I'd had my doubts about the safety of our heating pad as well when it accidentally ran for 3 days under a pillow when Ian was ill. It had scorch marks on it, and I didn't feel good about using it for yogurt making anymore. I got a new one from Amazon this morning, so yogurt-making is back in full swing. I had a hard time finding one that did not have an auto-shutoff feature, which I'm sure is important, but I want to make yogurt! The one I got cycles gently up and down to avoid overheating, so I think it'll work and possibly save electricity.

I did yell at M-girl yesterday because she was dumping bins of toys immediately after I had picked them up, which I was doing so that my husband could vacuum. She and I made peace just fine, and it motivated me to be more patient and take the time to talk through tough moments with each of my children. It's easy to yell and leave physical and emotional distance between me and my children, but that makes it easier for them to only obey when I'm in sight and yelling. It takes touch and a calm and patient tone to change their hearts and make it easier for them to do the right thing the next time. It's the day-to-day training that really does make a difference in my kids' overall behavior, but it's also where my energy gets sapped. I am feeling hopeful after a morning of peaceful conflict resolution, plus M's nap is in 20 minutes!