Saturday, December 22, 2007

On the Menu

I volunteered to bring the main dish and sides for church tomorrow. This is what's on the menu:

Spiral-Sliced Ham
Pioneer Woman's Do-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes (with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon)
Peas and Carrots
Whole-Wheat Bread
Fresh Fruit Salad (pineapple, apple, and banana chunks, with bowls of chopped walnuts, sweetened dried coconut, and sweetened dried cranberries on the side for toppings)
Dessert (made by someone else in the church)

There's really not a ton of preparation involved. The most time-consuming thing was peeling ten pounds of potatoes, which my sweet husband did for me. The mashed and sweet potatoes are made, and just need to be heated tomorrow. The ham is pre-cooked, so it just needs to be heated through as well. I will steam the peas and carrots and mix them with butter and salt right before it's time to go. Same for chopping up the fruit for the salad. The bread's easy, too--I'm just going to make it in the bread machine, cut it in chunks, and serve it hot with butter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Deals This Week

I received a coupon in the mail for $10 off any in-store purchase at JCPenney. I found an outfit for 1-year-old, originally $12.99, on sale for $5.99, and a set of 3 pairs of sterling silver hoop earrings, originally $10.00, marked down to $4.49, so I only paid $.48.

At Walgreens, L'Oreal Studio Line products (in white bottles) are on sale 4/$3. I had a $1 coupon, so I got some mousse for free with $.25 overage.

Nestle Turtles (formerly DeMet's Turtles) candy are on sale for $.99 a box. I had a $1 coupon (which specified DeMet's Turtles, but there was no problem at the register), so they were also free. I will probably use them as a white elephant gift at a party this weekend.

Cornbread

I did end up being sick with a stomach bug for several days, but I am better as of yesterday. Normally, I love to cook, so you can tell I am sick when I stop doing anything in the kitchen. For several days, we just scrounged around in the fridge for leftovers and easy fixes or got take-out, but yesterday I felt better enough to make Tammy's Mom's Meatloaf, cornbread (recipe to follow), and steamed vegetables. The meatloaf turned out great, nice and moist and easily slice-able, but out of personal preference, I might add some more spices next time I make it. I think I'm used to more flavors in my meatloaf.

This cornbread recipe is not particularly healthy, but it is the yummiest I've ever tasted. It's sweet and almost cake-like. Serve hot with butter and honey!

Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups cornmeal (I use yellow, but any kind works)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Procedure:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 8x8x2" pan.

Combine milk, melted butter, and egg in large bowl. Stir in all other ingredients at once until flour is just moistened (batter will be lumpy). Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes (20 is always long enough, in my experience) until golden brown.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I Don't Want to Get Sick!

Bleh...I woke up this morning with flu, or morning sickness, or food poisoning, or something that made me feel nauseated all day until around 2 P.M., then I suddenly started feeling better. Maybe it's the same thing 1-year-old had last weekend. Anyhow, praise the Lord that I am feeling better now, because I am supposed to sing at our friends' wedding tomorrow. I wouldn't want to miss their wedding for anything, not only because they're counting on me to sing, but also because I think they are wonderful for each other, and I want to be there to celebrate with them.

1-year-old is very definitely teething today. I can feel the tooth breaking through. He was pretty cranky all day, but now that his papa is home, he is more cheerful.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Home

1-year-old and I met Hubby for lunch today. There is a cafeteria where he works, so we ate there. 1-year-old had fun trying to entertain Hubby's co-workers. :-) We went to the post office and finally mailed out our Christmas letters and a package for Hubby's parents, who live too far away for us to get together at Christmas.

When 1-year-old and I pulled into the driveway of our apartment complex, 1-year-old contentedly uttered, "Home!" It warmed my heart to know that he was glad to be home.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Getting Better

1-year-old is getting better. He still doesn't have his usual appetite and is quite cranky, but at least he isn't feverish and throwing up anymore.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Sick Little Boy

Around noon today, Hubby, 1-year-old, and I went to the store to do a little Christmas shopping. 1-year-old fussed and whined the whole time. I thought that was strange, but I just figured he was tired. I put him to bed right away when we got home and he slept for about an hour and a half. Then he woke up, and we went in and tried to give him some diluted juice in a sippy cup, but he wouldn't even touch it. This was even more odd to me, as we only recently started giving him juice, so he thinks it is a special treat. He just kept crying and crying for no apparent reason. I held and rocked him for a while. He just snuggled up to me, which he never does--he is not really a snuggler. Then, all of a sudden, he threw up all over himself and me. Poor little guy. He felt so miserable. He got sick a couple more times, and then seemed very exhausted and took a little catnap in the chair. He was running a fever around 100 degrees. I put him to bed around his usual bedtime, and he seems to be sleeping soundly. We are praying that he will feel better in the morning. I am grateful that 1-year-old is usually so healthy, and that this is really the first time he's had something worse than a little cold. Still, it is hard to see him feeling so awful. But I have to say having him want to snuggle with me for a change was nice. :-) It feels good to be able to comfort my child in a way that only Mama can. 1-year-old didn't want anything to eat or drink for the rest of the evening, but he did nurse a little before bed. I suppose mama milk and plenty of rest are about the best things for him at this point. It makes me glad I haven't completely weaned him yet, so he still has the option of nursing when he doesn't feel like anything else.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Neverending Project

So I moseyed on down to the local mega-craft-store, and spent a blissful evening browsing almost every aisle just for the fun of it. I came home with a scrapbook, a page of baby boy stickers, and a book of various colors of cardstock for matting photos.

I basically haven't done anything with pictures of 1-year-old except store them in a mini photo album that is bursting at the seams. And that's not to mention all the pictures sitting around on our digital cameras or hard drives that haven't yet been developed. But the time has come to get organized. I don't want to just end up with boxes and boxes of uncategorized photos. I want to keep track of things now so that I can arrange the photos and jot down my thoughts about them.

For a while, I was thinking of going to digital scrapbooking, but Hubby and I decided against it because we like glossy real photos, not just pictures printed out on a page. So now I have the task of designing pages of the past fifteen months of our lives. We decided to not try to do a separate photo album for each child, but to instead just keep chronological "family" albums. So if there's still room in this album when the new baby is born, we'll put in all of his or her baby pictures, too.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mama's Little Man

If I ask 1-year-old, "Are you Mama's little man?", he gets a huge grin on his face and says, "Yeah, MAA!" (man).

It stopped raining long enough today for 1-year-old and I to walk to the produce market. We bought a bunch of vegetables, some of which I needed for tonight's dinner--egg rolls. If you ever make egg rolls, be prepared for your kitchen to look like a tornado swept through. Well, I'm off to tackle the dishes.

Edited December 7 to add: Today I said to 1-year-old, "Aw, you're Mama's precious little baby." He looked me in the eye and said, "MAA!" Okay, I get the point. You're not a baby anymore.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Yum-Yum! Chocolate Pudding

 


Made with stevia. I used this recipe, except I used stevia powder to taste instead of the Sweet 'N' Low packets. Oh, and I also just used regular whole milk instead of the half and half. It came out just fine, or at least 1-year-old thought so, as you can tell from the picture. I mixed in some peanut butter and banana slices to make it more nutritious.
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First Steps!

1-year-old took his first solo steps yesterday at our appointment with the midwife! It somehow seemed appropriate that he started walking at the place where he was born.

The appointment went well. I appreciate the familiarity of using the same midwife and the same birth center. On the team of birth assistants, there is also an apprentice midwife and a student.

They've added another birth room, so now we have three to choose from (all with those wonderful, big birth tubs) when I am in labor. We heard the baby's heartbeat, they took my blood pressure, felt my abdomen, did a urine test, and drew some blood which they will send to a lab to be check for anemia and a few other things.

My mom agreed to stay with 1-year-old at our house when Hubby and I go to the birth center, so I feel like the details for the birth are finally starting to get firmed up.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Rainy Day Ideas?

I got to feel Baby really moving around a lot for the first time last night as I was lying on my back in bed. If Hubby had been home at the time, I think he would have been able to feel the kicks, too. My first prenatal appointment is tomorrow. One thing I like about midwives is that they don’t do much. I expect at the appointment tomorrow my midwife will answer any questions we have, give me a urine test stick so I can test myself and tell her if there’s anything abnormal, and let us listen to the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler. And maybe do a quick internal exam, but I might try to get out of that.

I am desperately trying to think of things to do with 1-year-old indoors today. It is pouring down rain, and Hubby took the car to work, so we really can’t go anywhere. If anyone has any ideas, please comment and let me know. I will be very grateful for any tips.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Laid-Back Sunday

Today was pretty laid-back. Hubby and I took turns reading books to 1-year-old in the morning, then we all took naps. Then I took 1-year-old to the library while Hubby stayed home and did a mountain of dishes (thanks, Honey!). While 1-year-old took his afternoon nap (yay, he still happily takes two naps a day--not sure how much longer that will last!), Hubby and I wrapped a bunch of Christmas presents together. He is a better wrapper than I am, so for the most part, he did the wrapping paper and I just did ribbon and labels. Then we went to church (our house church starts at 4 P.M. We eat dinner together and hang out for a while, then pray, sing, read the Word, etc.). 1-year-old did well until about 6:30 (his usual bedtime), then Hubby took 1-year-old and me home and went back to church. I put 1-year-old to bed, called my mom and chatted with her for a while, and then practiced my harp for the first time in a long time. I got to see my friends' precious 1-week-old-today baby boy at church. He was so tiny and helpless! It brought back memories of how difficult, but wonderful, it is to care for a brand-new baby. I am looking forward to meeting our new little one in about five months!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Snow

Pictures went fairly well yesterday. We actually got 1-year-old to smile for a couple shots. I was planning to go out today to find some photo frames, but it just started snowing. I know snow is not a big deal to a lot of people, but where I live, it snows so rarely that no one (including myself) knows how to drive in it or has chains or other winter-weather accessories for their cars, so it's safer to just stay home. Besides, I have a pot of chicken stock simmering on the stove. It smells so good and makes the house seem cozy. Why leave that to go out in the snow? (If you can't tell, I am not a fan of snow.)

This morning, I walked with 1-year-old to the produce market (before the snow started!) to get some veggies. Then I cleaned out the fridge (blech...found some science experiments!) Other things on my to-do list today include decluttering Hubby's and my bedroom, organizing my bathroom sink area, and finishing and addressing our Christmas cards/letters.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Getting Ready for Pictures

We have an appointment at a portrait studio this afternoon to get family pictures taken , so I have some preparation to do to get us all ready (ironing clothes, figuring out what to do with my stick-straight hair, etc.) 1-year-old is teething and trying to suck and chew on everything he can get his mouth on, so hopefully he won't be too fussy for pictures.

I am reading everything I can about pregnancy and birth. I just got four books from the library yesterday, so I have enough to keep me busy for a while.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Change in Birth Plans

I was leaning more toward a home birth with this next baby, but now we are planning to use the same freestanding (not affiliated with a hospital) birth center where we had 1-year-old. The main reason we were thinking of a home birth (other than how nice it would be to not have to pack up and drive across town in the middle of labor) was that there is a group of midwives that does home births for which my insurance would cover 80% of the cost. My insurance would only cover 50% of the cost of the birth center, since it is out-of-network. But the more we thought about a home birth, the more it just didn't seem right at this time. In the first place, we live in an apartment with lots of neighbors around, and in the second place, we decided that 1-year-old is really too young to see and hear Mama in hard labor. It would be too distressing for him. We will probably ask my mom to come and stay with 1-year-old at our house while we go to the birth center.

So, after lots of thought and prayer and E-mails and phone calls, we (well, the Lord, really!) worked it out so that the birth center will bill my insurance and accept whatever insurance pays as full payment. Wow! That means that the birth center birth will end up costing less than a home birth would have...all we have to pay is a small deductible. And I get to use the nice big birth tub with jets again....ahhhhhh! That really made my labor with 1-year-old more manageable. It was still incredibly, ridiculously hard (he was posterior) and long (about 2 1/2 days total), but God and my sweet Hubby helped me get through it once, and I know they will help me again. I am also hoping that labor won't be as long this time.

Anyway, I am feeling good about the decision to use the birth center again, and I am so pleased and amazed at how God worked out the financial aspect that I just had to share!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I like Walgreens

 


1-year-old and I walked to Walgreens today (it’s about a mile from our house) and got home just before it started raining. Here are my deals for the week so far. I hope to go back to my Walgreens later in the week or maybe to a different Walgreens to see if I can find the Keri Renewal Milk Body Lotion that I like (and will be free after $5 manufacturer's coupon and $10 Easysaver rebate).

Venus Breeze razor and two blades (not pictured)--$9.99, FREE after rebate (this deal was good on Black Friday only)

1 12 oz. Dove Pro-Age shampoo and 1 12 oz. Dove Pro-Age conditioner, $5.99 each (Walgreens BOGO, used 1 BOGO manufacturer’s coupon worth $4.50 and one $1.50 manufacturer’s coupon)—both FREE

13.5 oz. Pert Plus, $3.49 (used $1 manufacturer’s coupon, will do rebate for $2.50)—FREE after rebate

Loreal Feria haircolor, $8.99 (used $2 Easysaver coupon and $2 manufacturer’s coupon)--$4.99

2 9.2 oz. packages Hershey’s Special Dark kisses, $2 each (used Easysaver coupon for $2 off 2, manufacturer’s coupon for $1 off 2)--$.50 each package

2 8-pack 5-stick packages Wrigley’s Extra gum, $1.99 each ($.99 each with 7-day coupon)

Walgreens 8-pack batteries, on sale for $2.99

To see other's Super Savings Saturday deals for the week, go here.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Should I enter him in a toddler spelling contest? :-)

This evening, as we were getting 1-year-old ready for bed, Hubby and I were discussing whether or not it would be worth it for one of us to make a run to the grocery store. I said, "Well, we're all out of m-i-l-k" (spelling it so 1-year-old wouldn't get unnecessarily excited). 1-year-old's eyes lit up, he said, "yeah! yeah!" and began rapidly making the sign for milk. Can someone tell me how my kid learned to spell milk? Maybe Hubby and I will have to come up with a code word for it, just like we have to refer to bananas as "monkey fruit" or "the long yellow things."

Our Thanksgiving

 


Wow, we've done a lot of traveling in the past few days. It was wonderful to visit with family, but I am glad to be home! My parents recently sold their home and moved in with my grandma to help take care of her and her large house, so it was interesting to see how they are unpacking and getting their things settled in to a house that was already full!

We met with a group of midwives last week that does homebirths and is, surprisingly, 80% covered by our insurance. They seem experienced and kind, so we will most likely go with them. Now I just have to fill out all the forms! I am 18 weeks along now; I feel Baby kick and squirm once in a while, but not much yet. We did not have an ultrasound with 1-year-old, but we are considering it with this baby and doing some research. The group of midwives we met with recommend one diagnostic ultrasound to check for birth defects. If we were to find out that anything was wrong with this baby, of course we would keep and love him or her anyway, but it would be good to know if there are any potential problems that would be better handled in a hospital.

When I was pregnant with 1-year-old, I did a lot of research about the safety of ultrasounds, and there was so much conflicting information that we decided to just play it safe and not get one (also, I was determined to not find out the gender ahead of time). But when I voiced my concerns about ultrasounds to the midwives we met with last week, they said that the level of sound waves a baby hears/feels with an ultrasound is much lower than when a Doppler is used to hear the heartbeat (which we did at every appointment with 1-year-old), and that a lot of the "scare" information out there about ultraounds is written by lay people who misinterpret and misapply studies. SO, all that to say, we need to do some more research, and then if we decide to get an ultrasound for diagnostic purposes, we will probably find out the gender while we're at it.
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Walgreens Deals This Week

No picture this week, as I've already demolished the boxes of a couple items I bought in order to cut off their UPCs for rebates, but here's what I bought at Walgreens this week:

12 oz. Clear Care contact solution ($8.99; used $2 EZ Saver coupon, will send in rebate for total purchase price)--FREE, made $2

.05 oz. Orajel Medicated Cold Sore Brush ($8.49; used $1 manufacturer's coupon and $3 EZ Saver coupon, will send in rebate for $7)--FREE, made $2.50

12.5 yard 1/2 in. Scotch tape (I despise off-brand tapes, so this is worth it to me) --$.50 with 7-day coupon

4-pack AA Walgreens batteries --$.99 with 7-day coupon

6 30 oz. Hellman's (a.k.a. Best Foods) Real Mayonnaise (the only kind of mayo I really like; on sale for $2.50 each, used 1 $.50 coupon)--$14.50, got $5 Register Rewards from Unilever promotion

3 100-count One-A-Day Men's Health Vitamins (3/$20, used 3 printable $1 coupons and $5 Register Rewards)--$12, will do EZ Saver rebate for $10 Walgreens gift card and calendar with $50 of coupons

2 8x10 photos (used code for free 8x10; Hubby submitted one and I submitted one)--FREE

Be sure to visit Money Saving Mom to read about others' great deals this week!

I Love My Little Guy

1-year-old, who is now 14 months, loves to "help" around the house. Any time he does something he regards as helpful, he will get a big smile on his face and clap his hands. I think it's sweet that he wants to please his parents, so I usually encourage his efforts by clapping along, telling him thank you, or saying, "What a good helper you are!" Yesterday, Hubby was putting away some dishes and had left the silverware drawer open. 1-year-old noticed it was open, crawled over, pushed it closed, and then said what we think was "helper." Isn't that sweet?

Also, today I was positively smothering his cute cheeks with kisses, as I am known to do. He had a stuffed toy in his hand, and he literally shoved it into my mouth to stop the kisses! Hey!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Menu Planning

Nisha asked, "I am a newlywed and I've notice that you always have great recipes especially desserts. How do you organize your meals and desserts? I would love to make desserts, I just need to know how to organize myself in making new meals and desserts without getting discouraged."

Hi Nisha, I do love to cook and bake and try new recipes, but I have to admit that I am not the most organized person in the world when it comes to menu planning. I like having a little flexibility when it comes to deciding what to make for dinner. What this looks like for me is, when I notice that our food supply is getting low, I make a menu with around six to eight dinner ideas. Then I just look at the recipe for each dish (or just rack my brain for the recipes I’ve made up and/or know by heart) and write down the ingredients I will need to make it. I also make sure to check my calendar to see if I’m scheduled to make anything for church or a special event, or if we are having anyone over for dinner that week. If that is the case, then I add what I will need to my grocery list.

I tend to be a “what shall I make for dinner tonight?” person. Most of the everyday meals I make don’t take that much preparation, and my husband usually gets home from work early enough to entertain our 1-year-old for the twenty minutes or so it takes me to make dinner. I think when we have more children, I will probably try to do most or all of the necessary dinner preparations in the morning, so that I will just be able to pull the completed meal out of the fridge, pop it in the oven to heat, and serve, but I haven’t really found that necessary yet.

As far as desserts go, my husband can’t eat more than one tiny bite of sugar, or he will feel sluggish and awful, and we don’t give 1-year-old sugar except on a very special occasion (like his birthday), so basically, I’m the only one in my house who can eat desserts--and I certainly don’t need a whole pie or batch of cookies to myself! So I really only make desserts when I take them OUT of the house and serve them to a group of people (we attend a small house church and eat dinner together every Sunday, so I often take desserts to church).

I recommend building up a base of four or five dinners that are pretty easy to make and always come out right. Then, once you get those down, you can flip through your recipe books (I love getting new recipe books from the library!) and try some new recipes. If one of your new recipes comes out right and is a hit, you can add it to your “frequently prepared dinners” list. You can do the same thing with desserts. Maybe start with cookies, then try cakes, then move on to pies, cheesecakes, and other more challenging desserts.

Here are a few of my “frequently prepared dinners”:

Spaghetti or Lasagne
Tacos or Nachos
Chicken Casserole
Chicken or Beef Stir-fry
Fried Rice
Omelettes (it’s fun and easy to make breakfast for dinner!)
Tuna Melts
Linguine with Clam Sauce
Asian Chicken Salad
Fried Chicken
Tuna Casserole
Twice-Baked Potatoes
Hamburgers

A couple of easy-to-follow recipe books that I use are Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook and Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. I also use Allrecipes quite a bit. I like reading through the reviews and tips of other people who have tried the dish I am considering making.

Hope this helps, Nisha. May God bless your marriage and your homemaking efforts.

Friday, November 09, 2007

FREE Stuff from Walgreens

 


These are the items I got absolutely FREE from Walgreens this week. I don't even have to send in a rebate for any of them; I just used lots of coupons to get the price down to zero.

Motrin, 24+6 bonus count, $4.29, used $5 printable coupon
Sudafed, 18 count, $4.99, used $5 printable coupon
4 Wrigley's 17-stick gums, $1.09 each, used Walgreens BOGO plus 2 manufacturer's BOGOs
Aquafresh Advanced, $1.99, used $2 printable coupon
2 Purell Gentle Foam hand sanitizers, $3.49 each, used $2.50 EZSaver coupon plus 2 $1.50 manufacturer's coupons

Total before coupons: $22.61. Total after coupons: FREE, plus I got back over $1.50 in overage.

To see others' Super Savings Saturday deals, go here.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Quick Update

Tomorrow I will be 15 weeks pregnant. Supposedly, Baby is about the size of a softball! I am gaining weight more slowly than I did with 1-year-old. I don’t think someone who didn’t know me would be able to tell I’m pregnant, but I’m sure that will change in the next couple of weeks!

I tried to crochet a wool diaper soaker for Baby, but the pattern was from the 40’s or 50’s, so the specified yarn isn’t available any more. I used a different yarn, and though I thought my tension was right on, the soaker ended up way too big, even after I tried shrink it in the washer and dryer. Besides, all the cutest soaker patterns are knitted. My favorite are the ones by Little Turtle Knits. So I really need to learn how to knit.

1-year-old likes to put things on his own, or other people’s heads, and say his current favorite word, which is “hat.” He also likes to pretend-feed milk in a sippy cup to his stuffed animals and say “yum yum!”

I am glad today is Saturday. Hubby has had to work extra, as well as run errands and attend meetings, so 1-year-old and I have not seen as much of him lately as we would like. He is finishing up making wedding invitations for some of our friends this morning (he is so good at that kind of thing!), but then he will be home.

I made this Asian Chicken Salad for dinner last night. It turned out great. Another current hit is Linguine with Clam Sauce, which I made following Pioneer Woman’s instructions in her story about the first time she cooked for her husband.

Monday, October 29, 2007

$250 Vision Forum Drawing

Kim at Life in a Shoe is sponsoring another Vision Forum giveaway. Three winners will receive up to $250 each in Vision Forum products. Head on over and post a link to your own wishlist on your blog to be entered in the drawing. Here’s my wishlist:

Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God $16.00 p. 6
Thoughts for Young Men $8.00 p. 21
Home-Making $20.00 p. 24
The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing Her Husband’s Vision $16.00 p. 25
Raising Maidens of Virtue $20.00 p. 25
Why Satan Wants Your Firstborn and What to Do About It $10.00 p. 27
The Influence of Older Children on Younger Children $10.00 p. 27
Be Fruitful and Multiply $15.00 p. 31
The Liberty Doll $89.00 p. 64
Medieval Princess Doll Dress $19.00 p. 70
Teach Them to Your Children $17.00 p. 80
Rebuilding a Culture of Virtuous Boyhood $10.00 p. 90

Total: $250

Friday, October 26, 2007

Boom Boom

One of the songs I sing to 1-year-old before every nap and bedtime is “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music. In the past week or so, when I get to the part that goes, “Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever,” 1-year-old smiles at me with a twinkle in his eye and says, “boom” or sometimes “boom boom.” I don’t know why, out of the whole song, “bloom” has become his favorite word, but it surely is cute that he repeats it every time we get to that part!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Question About Going to the Dentist

I have had a toothache for almost a week. I’m sure it has nothing to do with sucking on all those Jolly Ranchers that were left over from the baby shower I planned for my friend a few weeks ago. Anyhow, my tooth hurts to the point where I can’t even chew on that side of my mouth, so I’m thinking I need to get to a dentist. I want to get a regular cleaning and have the dentist look at the tooth that is bothering me.

The last time I went to a dentist was before I got married, I was still on my parents’ dental plan, and I was going to same office I’d gone to my whole life. So I don’t know anything about finding or paying a dentist. Do I just look up a dentist in the phone book, say, “Hi, I need to get my teeth cleaned,” and make an appointment? I do not have dental insurance and thus will be paying out-of-pocket. Anyone know approximately how much a cleaning costs? Thanks for any input.

Staying Home Today

Oh my! I just looked at the calendar this morning and realized that there are only two months left until Christmas! I would love to have all gifts made/purchased by the beginning of September, so I need to get started on that. Also, I have decided to make an ornament for each of my children every year of their lives until they are eighteen (to give to them when they leave home/get married), so I need to plan what I'm going to make for 1-year-old's this year.

I have been walking a lot lately, and I think I've overdone it. I am having muscle pain in my belly and legs whenever I walk (even around the house) or pick up 1-year-old. So I am planning to stay home today and take it easy. I hope I will find enough things for 1-year-old to do to keep him occupied. I usually take him on one or two outings a day, mainly for diversion's sake. He is more content and seems to sleep better when he gets some out-of-the-house stimulation--different things to see and do and think about.

1-year-old's digestive system doesn't seem to handle wheat well, so I've been trying to figure out some things to bake for him that don't need wheat. Yesterday I made him some cookies with 2 cups of oats, a jar of sweet potato baby food (sometimes I use applesauce, but we were out, and I had to use up this jar sometime anyway), an egg, some cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, a pinch each of salt, baking powder, and baking soda, a splash of milk, a bit of stevia, and raisins. I baked them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. They came out kind of rubbery (because of the lack of wheat), but 1-year-old loves them, so I guess that's what counts.

I have also been trying to branch out in the things I make for dinner for Hubby and myself. Pioneer Woman has a cooking blog with step-by-step directions and lots of photos for every recipe she posts, so I've been trying out some of her recipes (please note that I don't endorse all the content on her blogs).

I enjoyed Candy's tour of her home, especially since our home is also around 900 square feet, and I am considering doing a tour myself, once we get our camera fixed (for some reason, it won't accept any memory cards, so I can only take three or four pictures at a time on the internal memory, transfer them to my computer, delete them off the camera, take more pictures, transfer them, etc., which gets tedious).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

UPDATED: Walgreens Deals


 




It is 72 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and walk to Walgreens with 1-year-old. I had hoped to do this Band-Aid deal, but they were all out of the right kind of Band-Aids, so I will have to go back later this week (which won't be so bad after all if this kind of weather sticks around). They did, however, have all the other things I intended to buy.

2 8.5 oz. Keri Milk Body Lotions. These are on sale for $10 each. I had 2 $3 off coupons, plus when you buy 2, you get $12 in Register Rewards.

6.4 oz. Crest toothpaste. On sale for $1.99. I had a $1 off Walgreens coupon and a $1 off manufacturer's coupon, making this toothpaste free.

Gilette Venus Divine razor. On sale for $7.99. I had a $2 off manufacturer's coupon, and this purchase generated $4 in Register Rewards.

Final cost: $19.98, but I got back $16 in Register Rewards.

By the way, I tried the lotion and really like it. It is unscented and absorbs quickly. Worth every penny of $1. :-)

UPDATED 10/24: I went back to Walgreens this morning and got Band-Aids. They are normally $3.29 a box, but with the Walgreens coupon, they were $.99 each. I bought eight, thus qualifying me for the Johnson and Johnson $10 Register Reward. I also had one $.50 coupon, so my total for eight boxes was $7.42. I paid with a $6 Register Reward I already had, so my out-of-pocket cost was only $1.42. Plus, I got $10 in Register Rewards!


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Monday, October 22, 2007

Pregnancy Update--13 Weeks

Now that my figure is starting to change, I'm starting to really believe that I am pregnant (as if three positive pregnancy tests and morning sickness weren't enough...). I am wearing some maternity clothes now, more because they're the only clothes I own that are appropriate for fall than because I really need them too badly yet. I recently bought three nice pairs of maternity pants in black, brown, and khaki, so those have become a wardrobe staple. (I like wearing dresses and skirts in spring and summer, but I prefer pants for fall and winter because I'm rather cold-blooded, and it can get pretty cold where I live).

I'm almost to the point where I can't (or at least won't bother) sucking in my stomach anymore. My belly is getting firmer. I have felt a few flutters that may or may not have been kicks, but I couldn't tell for sure. I felt movement with my first pregnancy at fourteen weeks.

We are still looking into birth options. I would love to have a homebirth, but I really can't in the apartment we're in now, because we're too close to our neighbors, and these apartments are not soundproof by any means. And I may have made a teensy-tiny bit of noise last time I was in labor.... Our lease is up in December, so there's a slight possibility we might move then (ay yay yay, I don't even want to think about moving at this point!) if we could find a house with affordable rent, but it's more likely that we will use a freestanding birth center like we did for 1-year-old's birth. I had a pretty good experience, and the tub with jets was very helpful during labor, but I would settle for one of these if I could have a homebirth.

I'm trying not to obsess about how much I gain this pregnancy. I certainly gained more than I wanted to with the last one, so I want to be extra careful to eat right and get at least a little exercise every day, but mostly, I want to keep the perspective that something wonderful and miraculous is happening inside my womb, and there is no way my body is ever going to be exactly the way it was before I started having babies (and I hope to have many more). I know there are a few women who, three days after giving birth, are back to their pre-pregnancy shape, but that's not most women, and that's not me. I want to eat healthfully and be a good steward of the body God has given me, but I don't want to get over-focused on myself and the way I look. Having babies is a sacrifice in many ways, including physically, but there are so many rewards.

For instance, today I had the joy of watching 1-year-old take hold of the handle of his walker wagon and push it all the way across the room! His clumsy, fast little steps were so cute, and he had the biggest smile on his face. I also love crawling down the hall after him on my hands and knees, or letting him chase me. He always laughs uproariously! I could go on and on...there are so many things I love about my precious baby. Thank You, Lord, for Your good gifts.

Vision Forum Drawing--My Wishlist

Kim at Life in a Shoe is hosting a drawing in which five lucky entrants will receive products of their choice, up to $150 each, from Vision Forum. You can find more information about the drawing here, but hurry, you only have until October 26 to post your wishlist on your blog.

Here's mine:

Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God $16.00 p. 6
Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God $16.00 p. 6
Home-Making $20.00 p. 24
The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing Her Husband’s Vision $16.00 p. 25
Raising Maidens of Virtue $20.00 p. 25
Why Satan Wants Your Firstborn and What to Do About It $10.00 p. 27
The Influence of Older Children on Younger Children $10.00 p. 27
Be Fruitful and Multiply $15.00 p. 31
Teach Them to Your Children $17.00 p. 80
Rebuilding a Culture of Virtuous Boyhood $10.00 p. 90

Friday, October 19, 2007

Successful Walgreens Trip

 


$57.89 worth of products for $4.91

3 Herbal Essence shampoos, 23.7 oz.--$1.11 each (B2G1 free coupon, plus this purchase generated $10 in Register Rewards. I did this transaction first, then went and got the rest of my items and used the $10 RR to purchase them. As a side note, I don’t really like Herbal Essence shampoo for my hair, but it makes a good body wash.)

Garnier Fructis shampoo, 25.4 oz.—free after rebate

Tropicana Fruit Squeeze—free (manufacturer’s coupon)

Dove Beauty Bar—free (manufacturer’s coupon plus Walgreens coupon)

Colgate Advanced toothpaste, 4.2 oz.—free after rebate

Colgate Total toothpaste, 4.2 oz.—free (on sale for $1.50, plus $1.50 printable internet coupon)

Aquafresh toothpaste, 6.4 oz.--$.24 (on sale for $.99, plus $.75 manufacturer’s coupon)

Dial Yogurt Vanilla Honey handsoap, 9.38 oz.—$.70 (on sale for $1, plus $.30 manufacturer’s coupon)

4 Robitussin cough syrups, 4 oz.--$.99 each (on sale for $3.99, plus $3.00 printable internet coupon for each one)

Pert Plus shampoo plus conditioner—free after rebate (plus $1 manufacturer’s coupon)

I had $3.30 on a gift card, so I used that and only had to pay $17.39 out-of-pocket for all of this. But I will get back $12.48 in rebates, plus $100 to use at a spa. So I got all this stuff for $4.91 (or $8.21, if you count what was on the gift card), and I will get $100 to use at a spa. I have never been to a spa in my life, but I am looking forward to it! I’m thinking a late-pregnancy massage would be delightful.

Make sure to visit Money Saving Mom to see others' Super Savings Saturday deals!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Recipes, As Requested

A reader asked for the recipes for the Raspberry Cheesecake Bars and Triple-Chocolate Brownies I will be serving at the baby shower tomorrow. Here they are:

Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup stick margarine or butter, softened
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup raspberry or strawberry jam
Powdered sugar, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9x2” pan. Beat flour, granulated sugar, salt, margarine, and 1/3 cup corn syrup with mixer until soft dough forms. Press evenly into pan. Beat cream cheese in separate bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs until well blended, then add 1 cup corn syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over dough. Bake 35-40 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Stir jam and spread over hot bars. Refrigerate until chilled. Cut into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving, if desired. Refrigerate any leftover bars.

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

1 cup butter, softened or melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9x2” pan. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread in pan. Bake about 30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting with Cocoa Frosting.

Cocoa Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup stick margarine or butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2-3 tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients except milk in medium bowl. Stir in milk until frosting is spreadable.

Tomorrow's Baby Shower Menu

-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

-Triple-Chocolate Brownies

-Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies

-Hollowed-out bread bowl filled with Spinach Dip

-Hummus

-Carrot and celery sticks

-Crackers

-Mixed nuts

-Grapes

-Strawberries

-Strawberry Wedding Punch with a lemon-and-orange-slice ice ring

-Coffee

-Tea

Hubby did all the grocery shopping for me. Wasn't that sweet of him? Plus, he brought home takeout from our favorite Thai restaurant. I have the best husband! Thanks, Sweetie!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Organizing

I am busy organizing a baby shower for a friend. It is this Saturday. I need to finalize the menu, make a list, and go grocery shopping, and then I get to bake various kinds of fancy little goodies. I love having a good reason to bake!

Other than that, I need to get my coupons organized. I save everything, but I've pretty much been chucking everything in a closet to await further tending. I really appreciated this post today from Crystal on Money Saving Mom. I think I might try using a similar system.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Giveaway: Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God

Crystal at Biblical Womanhood is giving away ten copies of a new book by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald called Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God. Go here to enter!

I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard it was in the works! And now ten lucky ladies will get it free!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Show-and-Tell Friday: Folk Harp

 


For Show-and-Tell Friday, I would like to show you the harp that my parents gave me for my birthday. It is a 19-string folk harp. I am learning to play it (the electric tuner Hubby bought for me a couple weeks ago makes it a more pleasant-sounding experience!); I can play a couple of simple songs fairly well. I need to practice, practice, practice!

If you would like to see a video of someone who knows what she is doing on the harp, click here. This woman is playing a song called "The Golden Eagle." Check out how effortlessly she flips the sharping levers (to make a particular string a half step higher). Such a lively, cheerful tune!

Make sure to visit There is No Place Like Home for more Show-and-Tell entries!
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Thursday, October 04, 2007

One Corner of Our Living Room

 

I mentioned last week that I did some redecorating while Hubby was away on a trip. Here is one corner of our living room. The area above the fireplace is actually a couple feet deep. It is intended for a TV (if you look closely, you can see the jack), but since we don't have one, I just use it for decoration. Right now, I have two plants, my harp, a pregnant lady Willow Tree figurine, and a tart warmer up there. I enjoy changing the knickknacks around every once in a while.
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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Who Knew? Homemade English Muffins


Yeah, the fall baking bug has bit me good. :-) Before I saw this recipe for Whole Wheat English Muffins, I thought English muffins could only be bought in a store! These taste way better than store-bought, and they come out with all those nice little holes that are perfect for soaking up butter and honey. Well, I haven't tried them that way yet, but I probably will soon. Tonight I topped them with roast beef, Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, and horseradish mustard for dinner. Mmm.... I think tomorrow morning I'll make an egg "McMuffin." And, uh, I'm still on the South Beach Diet. Yeah.

Lemon-Raspberry Scones

I just made these Lemon-Raspberry Scones. They turned out great, even though I used thawed frozen raspberries instead of fresh, as the recipe calls for (because I'm too frugal to pay $3 for a few ounces of fresh berries!). My scones were done after about 18 minutes (the recipe says 20-22).

Oh yeah, I still haven't gained any weight this pregnancy (I'm at 10 weeks), but we'll see how long that lasts if I keep eating pumpkin pie and scones! Something about fall weather makes me want to bake up a storm....

Edited to add: I tried to take a picture of a scone to post here, but it didn't turn out, and our camera's acting up. Anyway, just imagine a lightly browned biscuit-y-looking wedge with raspberries in it. :-)

WFMW: Dirty Dishcloths

 

I've been waiting for today's Works-for-Me-Wednesday Backwards Day so I can ask: what do you do with your dirty dishcloths until laundry day? I’ve found that I can’t just throw them into the hamper with everything else, or they make everything stink. So, I’ve been keeping them in a little plastic basket under the sink until I’m ready to wash them, but even so, they often get moldy and gross and I have to use a ton of bleach to get them to smell fresh again. So tell me, what works for you?

Make sure to visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for other Works-for-Me-Wednesday ideas, and feel free to post your own "advice-needed" question on your blog for Backwards Day!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Nice Kitty

When 1-year-old and I take a walk to the park, we always pass a house that has two lion statues guarding the driveway. This morning, I stopped at the first statue and made a big deal over it, asking 1-year-old, "What does a lion say? A lion says ROAR!" 1-year-old just smiled. Then I went to the second lion statue and again asked, "What does a lion say?" I waited for a moment, and then 1-year-old very clearly enunciated, "Meow!"

Monday, October 01, 2007

The BEST Pumpkin Pie

 

I hear that some parts of the country are still in the high 80's or above, but where I live, today was a pumpkin-pie kind of day...chilly, blustery, and off-and-on rainy. Since I was heading to the grocery store anyway, I picked up a few ingredients, and whipped up a couple of pies using my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. What makes this pie so yummy is that you scorch the pumpkin puree to carmelize the sugars. It has such a good flavor! I doubled the recipe below and made 2 pies.

This recipe comes from my most treasured cookbook: Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. It is a 2-volume, 1500+ page work from the 1950's era. Someday maybe I will do a blog post on why this cookbook is so awesome and stands out among all my other cookbooks. The short version is that the recipes are very descriptive and detailed.

I will quote the recipe exactly as it is printed in the cookbook.

PUMPKIN PIE No. 1--BAKED AT TWO TEMPERATURES
A delicious mildly spiced pie. Scorching the pumpkin, as Grandma did, gives excellent flavor

Pastry for 9-inch Single Crust
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree or home cooked
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar, pkd
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup 12% cream, half-and-half

Adjust rack 4 or 5 inches above bottom of oven. Start oven 10 min before baking; set to moderately hot (425 degrees F).

Make pastry. Roll out and line a 9-inch pie pan, fitting well into angles. Trim off with scissors 1/2-inch beyond pan rim; turn overhang under so fold is even with pan rim. Crimp with fork leaving edge flat or flute with fingers. Do not prick pastry. Turn pumpkin into a 3-qt saucepan, place over direct heat, cook and stir until it is dried out and the natural sugar in it is slightly carmelized (scorched but not burned). This takes about 10 min. Remove from heat. Beat eggs until just mixed, stir in sugar, milk and spices that have been blended to a smooth paste with the hot water. Stir in pumpkin, salt and cream until thoroughly blended. Pour into pastry-lined pan. Bake 15 min; then reduce heat to slow (300 degrees F), opening oven a min or so for heat to drop rapidly to 300 degrees F. Bake about 25 min longer or until custard has coagulated all except a small circle in center. This will set later. Remove to cake rack to cook to lukewarm before cutting. 6 servings.

Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. Copyright 1969, by Meta Given. Published by J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, Chicago.

Ingredients for 9-inch single crust pastry shell

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp vegetable shortening
3 1/3 tbsp room temperature water

There are some very good, detailed instructions for making pie crust in this cookbook, which I don't have time to type up tonight, but if anyone wants them, let me know in a comment, and I will do a pie crust post soon.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Someone smart, please help me

Random question: I have a book from 1969 that has been out-of-print for a long time. I would like to type up some passages from it and share them on this blog. Is this legal?

Babies at church--any tips?

Hubby and I are part of a house church of about 30 people. We meet every Sunday night at the home of someone in the church. We eat dinner together (prepared by different people every week), then we sing, pray, usually have a teaching time, and share what's going on in our lives. I love getting together with other believers, listening to the Word being taught, etc., but nearly every week I dread going to church because there's no easy solution as to what to do with 1-year-old. Usually we bring a playpen and set it up in a back bedroom, then I nurse him, sing to him, do all the usual things, and then put him in the playpen and tell him to go nigh-night. He always screams for a long time before (sometimes) finally drifting off to sleep, and I feel so bad for making him to try to sleep all alone in an unfamiliar environment with the noise of 30 people swirling around him. The other choice is letting him stay awake and be out with us, which usually means that he is a distraction to everyone and neither Hubby nor I (especially I) can focus on the teaching or what anyone else is sharing at all, because we're too busy trying to keep 1-year-old quiet and occupied. It's such a huge hassle that sometimes I wonder if it's even worth it.

Tonight 1-year-old was acting so extremely fussy right before it was time to leave for church that we decided that I would just stay home with him. He is teething and must be in pain, because he is constantly crying and pointing at the little tooth that is pushing through, plus he still has a bit of a cold. Hubby had to go to church because he is teaching the Bible lesson to the older kids tonight.

Anyway, I guess I am wondering if anyone has ever been in a similar situation and what you have done. I don't want to dread going to church every week! Also, I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself, but I keep thinking about how crazy and challenging church will be when this new baby is born. 1-year-old will be 20 months old then.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The weekend, so far

I am feeling much better. I haven't had morning sickness for the past few days, I have more energy, and my senses of taste and smell are returning.

Hubby has been on a trip with some other men from our church for the past few days, but he is getting home tonight. I can't wait to see him again! I miss him so much when he is gone. I think 1-year-old missed him, too. 1-year-old did end up getting what I had, but he is almost better. We had a few rough nights with lots of waking up and crying, partly because of his cold, and partly because he is getting in another tooth (his 8th)!

While Hubby was gone, I shopped around at various craft stores and discount stores and bought a few items to go on the walls in our living room, which were previously quite bare. We had been waiting to decorate until we could afford a slipcover for our very retro-looking couch (green and brown flowers, plus stripes--I've been waiting to cover that thing up for a long time), which we were able to do last week. We ordered it online, so we're still waiting for it to arrive, but we measured carefully and made sure to choose all the right options (T-cushion, wing back, etc.), so I'm pretty sure it will work. It was hard to tell the exact color from the little sample swatch on the manufacturer's website, but it is a deep red/burgundy, which will coordinate well with the dark teal-ish armchair and loveseat that are also in our living room. I like the way our living room looks now (well, except for the ugly couch that I'm eager to cover!). I bought a wall planter and some moss and silk ivy vines to go in it, a burgundy wooden sign that says, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord," and a tri-colored dried eucalyptus wreath (green, burgundy, and brown--it smells so good!) that kind of ties everything together, AND, I got out nails and hammer and hung them all on the walls, all by myself, thank you very much! :-) Hee hee, I have always had someone else around who knows what they are doing when it is time to hang things on the walls, so I had actually never done it myself before. I was pleased that I didn't smash my thumb and actually managed to get things to hang straight. I think Hubby will like the living room's new look. It seems a lot homier now. I plan to post a picture soon, but I can't at the moment because Hubby took our digital camera on his trip.

My mom came over to spend some time with 1-year-old and me. My parents live 2 1/2 hours away from us, so we don't see them as often as we'd like, and it is always special when they visit. 1-year-old had a great time with her. She read him lots of stories, which is a sure way to win him over. She and I had some good girl bonding time, too. We watched a chick flick together last night, and today we browsed some antique stores.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sick Again

I am sick...again...with a bad cold, plus my morning sickness today was the worst it's been so far this pregnancy. Fortunately, Hubby and Baby Boy seem to be staying healthy. I feel a bit discouraged because my house is a mess and I have no energy to clean it; the kitchen is the worst--there are (nonperishable) grocery items from Hubby's shopping trip today still in bags on the counter, as well as unwashed dishes (although not too many, as Hubby has been helping a lot with dishes). For the past few days, the smell and sight of dirty dishes has made me feel nauseated....I can't even go near them. Blech.

Morning sickness stopped with my last pregnancy around week twelve, so hopefully I've just got to hang in there for a few more weeks!

I haven't gained any weight so far this pregnancy, which is fine with me. I think I started packing on the pounds almost immediately after I found out I was pregnant last time--I craved carbs and freely indulged in eating lots of bread products. This time, I'm trying to only eat one or two servings of grains a day. It is strange being pregnant and yet not feeling (except for the morning sickness) or looking pregnant.

Anyway, please just say a little prayer that I will feel better soon so I can take care of my family the way I want to!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Big News!

Now that I've told my family and friends in real life, I can finally announce here that we are expecting our second child at the end of April 2008! Baby Boy will be 20 months old then. I can't figure out how to put a baby ticker under my header above, so I put one all the way down at the bottom of the page.

Today is my 24th birthday. My parents came over last weekend to celebrate and gave me a beautiful 19-string folk harp! I was completely surprised. I had mentioned to my mom just once months and months ago that I thought it would be nice to learn to play the harp, and she remembered. I also received a lesson book, so I am beginning to learn to play.

Tonight Hubby is bringing home takeout from our favorite Thai restaurant, and then we will probably watch some more of the movie we've been watching, a 6-hour BBC production of Jane Eyre.

Oh, my mom also gave Baby Boy his first haircut when she was here. I miss the curls, but he looks so handsome and grown up! I will try to post a picture later.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Birthday Boy

Yesterday, my parents, brother, and grandma came to our house and celebrated Baby Boy's first birthday with us. Here is a picture of Baby Boy diving into his birthday cake (gingerbread with real whipped cream on top):

 

And here he is testing out one of his presents, a little Radio Flyer push-wagon to help him learn how to walk:
 

Sorry I haven't posted lately; I have been under the weather with a bad cold. I am on the mend.
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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Please may I take a bath, Mama?

 

Yesterday, I turned on the bathtub faucet to run some water for Baby Boy's bath. He was at the opposite end of the house in the living room. Within thirty seconds, he crawled all the way down the hallway, through the bedroom, and into the bathroom. Then he quickly pulled himself up on the bathtub and began making all sorts of squawks and squeaks to show me that he was very excited and wanted to get in that water and play!

Graphic from allposters.com.
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Curiosity


20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; 22 and the LORD showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. 23 Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. 25 Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’” Deuteronomy 6:20-25, NKJV

Children are curious. God makes them that way to help them learn. I see it every day in Baby Boy when he confidently approaches and masters a new challenge, whether pulling himself up on the couch to reach a desired object; opening the drawer under the oven and methodically taking out each pot, pan, and lid; or super-crawling down the hallway, giggling all the way, when he sees that the office door is open (there are so many fun things to grab and explore in there!).

What a privilege it is to pass on knowledge, skills, and spiritual truths to our children. I want to live according to the Word, so that when my children observe my life and ask why I do things a certain way, I will not be ashamed, and I can take the opportunity to point them to God. I look forward to sharing stories of God’s provision and guidance with my children. I want to help them see how He is working in their own lives every day.

Graphic from art.com.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Giveaway

This week, Crystal at Biblical Womanhood is giving away a $25 gift certificate to Vision Forum, as well as 5 CDs from her own store. For more information, go here.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Saving Our Pennies

My husband and I went over our budget tonight and we have decided to start saving toward a down payment for a house. It will probably be several years before we have any significant amount put away, but you have to start somewhere. The first step we are taking is to cut our grocery budget. I am going to try to get all our groceries for $50 a week. The cost of living in our area is pretty high, and food isn't cheap, so I am going to have to get creative. I am still trying to follow the principles of the South Beach Diet, so that that makes things even more challenging, as I'm trying to stay away from starches, which are the cheapest foods! What I have been trying to do is only have one grain a day, so maybe I will save it for dinner so I can eat "normal" dinners, such as chicken-and-rice casserole, tuna-noodle casserole, etc. However, I did just get The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer cookbook from the library, and haven't had a chance to peruse it yet. Maybe I'll get some good ideas there. My one splurge will be raw milk for Baby Boy, as I really feel the nutritional benefits are worth the cost. It is--YIKES!--$7 a gallon. So my total grocery budget will actually be $57 a week, as soon as I start Baby Boy on raw milk. I still want to continue nursing him for a while, but I want to wean him very gradually, so I may start substituting cow's milk for one nursing session a day pretty soon.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Haircut

I got my hair cut this weekend. I had had long hair for several years, and I was ready for a change, partly because of the heat lately, partly because Baby Boy likes to pull hair, and partly just for fun. Here's a pic:

 

I got to watch Baby Boy stand up all by himself in his crib today. I heard him babbling to himself after waking up from his nap, so I quietly opened his bedroom door. He didn't see me poke my head in. He was sitting up, and then he grabbed hold of the crib bar and pulled himself up and started chewing on the bar! It was so cute! Eventually, he noticed I was standing there, and he smiled, like, oh, you caught me, Mama. :-)
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Not too bad for $19.30

 

I had a fairly successful couponing trip to Walgreens today. I got these products for a total of $19.30:

3 25.4-oz. Pantene shampoo+conditioners
3 25.4-oz. Pantene conditioners
3 12-oz. Herbal Essence products
1 13.5-oz. Aussie conditioner
1 6-oz. Aussie mousse
3 16-oz. Infusium23 products
1 Venus Divine razor system
2 15-pack Gillette disposable razors
1 2.6-oz. Secret deodorant
1 Oral-B Indicator toothbrush

The total retail value of these products is $96.37, so I had a savings of $77.07. I know that is a good deal, but I had been hoping for an even better one. I had talked to the manager earlier in the day, and he told me that the Walgreens registers were printing out $16 worth (a $10, $4, and $2) of Register Rewards (which can be used like cash) for every $20 transaction on select items, as listed in the Walgreens advertisement. So I thought I would get everything for around $1. But when I went to Walgreens this evening, the registers were only printing a $10 coupon for every $20 transaction. I bought everything anyway, because I had a tired Baby Boy with me and needed to get home. To get this price, I used a combination of manufacturer's coupons (I had several buy one, get one free) and Register Rewards.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Day at the Park

 
 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Crawling

Baby Boy has finally (at 10 1/2 months) started to crawl. He is quite pleased with himself and spent quite a bit of time today chasing after some balls with bells and rattles inside. Before now, he would roll to get where he wanted to go, or scoot on his back. But I think he likes going forward. It's more efficient. ;-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Crocheter's Lament

I have been wanting to learn how to knit solely so I can make a few of these adorable wool soakers for Baby Boy. So I bravely took knitting needles and yarn in hand, and...found out that knitting is (to me) way more complicated than crochet. Not only is it way slower, but it's hard to insert the needles exactly where I want them and the yarn keeps sliding off the hook-less needle ends and I keep dropping stitches or adding stitches or twisting stitches...you get the idea. With crochet, when you mess a stitch up, you just slip it off the hook, give the yarn a tug, and you're good to start over again. With knitting, it's not the simple. I E-mailed the designer of the soaker patterns I linked to above and asked if she would be coming out with a crochet version any time soon; her response was a definite no. I know there are crocheted soaker patterns out there, but none of them are as cute as the Little Turtle Knits patterns. I'm fairly crafty and it's usually not too hard for me to get the hang of a new skill, but I've given knitting more than a fair shot and I'm thisclose to giving up on it.

In other news, it's been HOT here--around 100 degrees. We don't have air conditioning...well, we do have a small unit, but we can't use it...mainly because in the complex we live in, you're not allowed to install air conditioners in any windows visible from the street. Our air conditioner is only strong enough to cool a small room, like a bedroom, and since our bedroom windows face the street, we're out of luck. Annoying regulations. :-P We've been opening up all the windows until around 10 A.M., then shutting up the house and even closing the blinds to keep the heat and sun out until late evening. It's been working all right, but things are still pretty sticky around here. Baby Boy is sleeping in just a diaper.

We're having transmission problems with our car again, so Hubby has been taking public transportation to work, and I've been walking everywhere I need to go (which isn't really much of a change for me, since I don't have the car during the day anyway). Early this morning, before it got too hot, Baby Boy and I walked about a mile to the nearest grocery store and came home with six bags of groceries hanging from the stroller handles! Baby Boy sometimes gets bored when we're shopping, especially because I like to compare prices and use coupons, so I'm not a very fast shopper. I got a store advertisement and kept giving pages of it to Baby Boy, who had a blast tearing them in pieces the whole time we were in the store (I picked up all the pieces, of course!). I do hope we get our car fixed soon, though. The transmission is still under warranty from when we had to have it fixed last Christmas, but the problem is that the shop is a 90-minute drive from where we live (we broke down halfway to my parents' house last Christmas Eve). So now we have to figure out if it's cheaper to have it towed all that way and get it repaired for free, or just pay someone in town to do it.

I want to go to a fabric store to pick out some fabric for some nursing dresses, but it's too far away to walk, and it would take too long to get to via public transportation, so I'll have to wait until the car is fixed. I don't really know how to sew (I made a few articles of clothing in high school with help from my mom), but I'm planning to learn. Hopefully, that will be more successful than my experience with knitting. I ordered this nursing dress pattern from Elizabeth Lee.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Busy Weekend

Wow, this weekend was very busy and stressful at times. I was a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding, and I had to try to balance being "there for" and helpful to her with still caring for my family, especially my still-nursing baby who will only nurse lying down. Hubby and I planned out a schedule of who was to be at the church when (he was helping with some wedding preparations as well), when Baby Boy would take his naps, when I would be home to nurse him, etc., but things didn't go as we expected. For example, we had planned that I would get to the church and dress in time for pictures, do the pictures, drive the 20 minutes back to my parents' house where Baby Boy was napping, nurse him, and then we would all come back to the church in time for the wedding. Well, as it turned out, the pictures were two hours late in starting, and I had the car with the carseat with me at church, so one of the kitchen helpers had to drive all the way out to my parents' in our car (with the carseat) while we were doing pictures, get Baby Boy for me, and bring him back the church. Then I tried to nurse him in a rocking chair in the nursery, but as I said, he only wants to nurse lying down. And then, because Baby Boy didn't nurse, I leaked breastmilk on my outfit during the reception. Grrr. I am happy my friend is happily married, but I am really glad to be home. Traveling with a baby is hard work!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

This Weekend

This weekend I helped a friend who is getting married next week (7-7-07, which I've heard is one of the most popular wedding dates ever) make dozens and dozens of cookies for her reception. I am to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. It was fun to see my old friends from back home.

This morning, I met with some friends for prayer and Bible study. We just started going through a book on the names of God. It has been good for me to get back into the habit of spending time alone with the Lord every day. Hubby and I read together out of a one-year Bible every morning, but I am better at really listening to the Lord and meditating on His Word when I take some time on my own, as well.

I am thinking of doing a "day in the life of me" post sometime soon....I haven't known where our digital camera was since we moved, but Hubby informed me recently that he's known where it was all along! :-) I'm also considering doing pictures of a week in skirts, like I know some ladies have done on their blogs before. I do wear pants sometimes, but I really prefer to wear skirts, as I feel much prettier and more feminine, and it seems like I get more done (same goes for wearing an apron...).

I have lost around 8 pounds so far on the South Beach Diet in the week-and-a-half that I've been on it. I'm feeling really good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Preparing for Guests Tonight

I hate to admit it (because I miss all the foods I used to eat), but I have been feeling really good on this diet. I've been on it for a week with no cheating (even though I've made several batches of cookies for different events!), and I've lost 4 pounds. Hubby and I are looking into getting some home exercise equipment.

Breastfeeding is still going fine; eliminating grains and starches and fruits has not affected my milk supply. I only have one more week to go, and then I can start slowly adding those things back in.

I have been busy today getting things ready for friends to come over tonight. The house was already pretty clean, since we had prayer meeting here last night, but there are always things to do in the kitchen, of course. Our menu tonight is roast beef, fresh bread, green salad, and oatmeal-raisin cookies for dessert. I won't be eating the bread or cookies.

Friday, June 22, 2007

South Beach Diet

So I decided to try the South Beach diet, since it embodies most of the principles I was thinking about trying anyway...now I just have a title for what I'm doing. :-) I had heard mostly good things about the South Beach Diet for a couple of years but never looked into it until this point because I figured, with a trendy name like "South Beach Diet," it must be some unhealthy fad diet. But I read the book, and it seems to make sense.

There are three phases of the South Beach Diet...I am starting with phase one, which eliminates grains/starches, fruits, and pretty much all sugars (lactose in dairy products is considered okay) for two weeks. I have read in several places that a nursing mom really shouldn't do phase one, and instead go directly to stage two, but I think that is probably for lactating mothers of young infants. Baby Boy is almost ten months old and is getting a lot of his nutrition from solid foods at this point. Plus, I am eating lots of protein and plenty of calories, so I don't think my milk will dry up.

I don't miss bread at all. I do miss my morning bowl of oatmeal, and I miss fruit. But I know the deprivation is only for two weeks, and then I can start adding things back in. I have been following the diet for a couple of days, and I feel really good. I am realizing that grains might have a tendency to produce bloating and gas in me (I know it would probably help if I diligently soaked my grains as a good Nourishing Traditions devotee should), because I have had a marked decrease in these annoyances since I stopped eating grains. I am feeling less sluggish, and I have had a lot of energy. I think my stomach has gotten a little flatter.

Updated to add: Oh, yeah, another thing that has motivated me to change my eating habits is an episode I had about two weeks ago. I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible, horrible stomach cramps. I mean, they were so bad, they woke me up out of a deep sleep. It felt like I was in labor, except the pain was steady instead of coming in waves, like contractions. I honestly thought I must be pregnant without knowing it and was having a miscarriage. But after about fifteen minutes of me moaning and crying and writhing, the pain subsided, and I was able to drift back to sleep. In the morning, I was absolutely fine. I figured out that I wasn't pregnant, so to this day, I don't know if it was just bad menstrual cramps or related to something I ate, but man, I don't want to experience that again.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Habits

Today I did a lot of tidying-up around the house, which is fortunate because I found out in the late afternoon that some relatives are coming to visit tomorrow morning!

I took Stephanie's advice in the comments of my last post and the only carb I had today, other than lots of veggies and some raisins for a snack, was brown rice for dinner. I am also avoiding junk food and trying to eat smaller portions.

For the past month or so, I have been taking a nap every afternoon while Baby Boy takes his second nap, but all the housework wasn't getting done. Today I stayed up and worked, and lo and behold, the house is clean tonight. The reason I've been needing to take naps is that I haven't been getting enough sleep at night, so I'm going to try not taking naps and just going to bed earlier. I love getting enough sleep, but it's always so tempting to stay up and read or dink around on the internet. But I am seeing that I need to be more disciplined in a lot of areas of my life, and sleep is one of them.

The house is clean, but bare. We have more wall space in this apartment than in our last one, so now I need to come up with some pretty yet inexpensive ways to decorate. We still (after 2 1/2 years!) haven't gotten enlargements made of any of our wedding photos, but once we do, I'd love to have some of them on the walls. I grew up in a house with pictures all down the hallway, so now that I live in a place with a hallway, I see it as just begging for pictures.

Well, I have a little free time tonight, so I'm going to do some reading and then go to bed early.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Long, rambling post about weight

I cannot believe how much my child eats....and no matter how much I give him, he almost always wants more. He has six teeth and is able to feed himself finger foods pretty well. His favorites are sticks of bananas and cooked yams and thin slices of cheddar cheese. Today I gave him little blobs of homemade hummus on his tray. I also give him strips of homemade waffles and homemade graham crackers (softer and thicker than store-bought graham crackers). I am glad he is enjoying food and gaining weight.

I, on the other hand, need to go the opposite direction on the scale. Recently I found Blest With Sons' ten-month pictorial weight-loss chronicle. She lost 78 pounds! I am so impressed...and inspired. I try to eat pretty healthy, but I know I could do better, and my only official exercise is a daily walk. For the first few months after Baby Boy was born, I steadily dropped some pounds, but I've totally plateaued for the past, oh, five months at a number much higher than I wish it were. Maybe someday I'll get brave enough to post my actual weight here for accountability, when I finally decide to get serious and lose thirty pounds. I still haven't figured out why I gained over sixty pounds when I was pregnant. Waaaaah. My body will never be the same again. Okay, I'm pulling myself together now. :-)

My main reason for delaying getting serious about losing weight is that I am still breastfeeding, and I'm worried that my milk will dry up if I exercise a lot and change my eating habits. But I really want to get down to a reasonable weight before getting pregnant again (and gain not more than thirty pounds during pregnancy next time around). So now I'm torn between wanting to nurse my baby as long as he wants and needs (I've always thought I would breastfeed for at least eighteen months) and losing weight. I am pretty sure (at least I'm hoping) that my body is "holding on" to five or ten pounds while I am lactating. I've talked to lots of women who say that was the case for them. So maybe when I stop breastfeeding, at least a few pounds will come off relatively effortlessly.

My husband is so sweet; I truly believe that he thinks I am beautiful no matter what I look like, but I need to lose weight for me. I want to be healthier and have more energy; I want to feel pretty and not frumpy. I want clothes to fit me again.

But to be completely transparent, I'm afraid to start trying to lose weight in case it doesn't "work," and then I'd be so disappointed.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Warning--Girly Post

In the past year of so, I've become aware of a lot of problems with tampons (dioxin, fibers scratching the vagina, toxic shock syndrome, environmental pollution, etc.), and to a lesser degree, with disposable pads. In my mid-teens, I stopped using disposable pads because they gave me a rash and were very uncomfortable to me, and I switched to tampons. Well, I have been looking for a more natural alternative to tampons. At first, I tried the Diva Cup, but so far I have not been satisfied with it and I am thinking of returning it. I trimmed the stem some, but it still pokes me, and I always feel the cup inside me. I really want it to work, but I am not as motivated to keep trying, now that I have...reusable cloth pads. I ordered some from New Moon Pads. They are very soft--way more comfortable than scratchy disposable pads--and they are not bulky. In fact, when I got them, I was amazed at how thin they are. The pads have a fleece layer to prevent leak-through (it works!). They are super-easy to care for. I don't find it "gross" to wash pads. Menstrual blood is not any more "dirty" than when you cut your finger and it bleeds.
When you use reusable menstrual products, you are keeping chemicals away from your body and you are not filling up landfills. And reusable cloth pads are very economical. For example, I got 3 pantiliners, 2 light pads, 4 regular pads, and an overnight pad for $39. You can wash and re-use them indefinitely (at least 10 years, probably longer). So once you get your initial "stock," you are good to go for a long time. No more laying down $5 for disposable products every 28 days! From New Moon Pads' info page:

"DID YOU KNOW? On average, one New Moon Pad costs approximately the same as one cycles worth of disposable products. Approximately 12-18 cloth pads are needed to get through one cycle (depending on how often you launder). That means New Moon Pads pay for themselves after just
1 to 1.5 years. PAD LIFE EXPECTANCY 10 years SAVINGS (you ready for this?) 8.5 to 9 years of no cost coverage! ...and that's just the financial savings...there's the health/comfort factor and environmental savings to consider as well."


By the way, you can find other frugal tips over at Biblical Womanhood.

Edited to add: Oh, and one more thing--the bigger reusable pads have extra layers and are great for postpartum bleeding. I think they would be so much nicer on tender just-pushed-out-a-baby parts than disposable pads.

Rain

Yesterday I received in the mail a stroller rain cover I purchased on Ebay, and today I got to try it out! It is a Protect-a-Bub cover, and it works great, except for the fact that Baby Boy loves to kick it and chew on the clear vinyl "window." But at least it keeps the rain off.

We went to the park, and I let Baby Boy go in the swing, even though it was sprinkling. Recently I read a quote I like--I think in a book about Montessori learning. It is: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing." I don't know if I'll ever get around to it, but I would love to cross-stitch that saying along with pictures of kids playing in rain or snow.

Well, I may or may not be going to Hubby's company BBQ tonight (it will be canceled if it is raining), but I am supposed to bring a fruit salad and a dessert. For the dessert, I think I'm just going to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies; if we don't end up going to the BBQ, I can just bring them to church on Sunday.

Baby Boy has become such a good sleeper lately (finally)! He takes two naps every day, usually from around 9:15-10:30/10:45, and from around 1:15-3:30/3:45. He goes to bed between 6:30 and 7:00, and sleeps straight through until around 5:30 A.M. We let him babble and play in his crib until 6:00, and then we get him up. I wonder if he will always be such an early riser. It suits our family, though, since Hubby usually leaves for work around 6:30 A.M. Since Baby Boy gets up early, Hubby is able to spend a few minutes with him before he leaves for work.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Peaceful Day

Since we moved a few weeks ago, I've gotten in the habit of taking Baby Boy to a park every morning that is about a 15-minute walk from our house. He loves to ride in the stroller and often babbles and sings. Sometimes he tries to imitate the sounds of sirens or dogs barking. This morning I pushed him in a swing at the park (he giggles hilariously when I push him from behind for a while and then run around to the front and say, "Peekaboo!"). Then we went down a slide a few times, and we patted some trees and bushes together. (I so want to live in the country, but I do the best I can in the city to introduce my baby to nature).

Then Baby Boy took a two-hour morning nap (which he very rarely does). When he woke up, we played "Come to Mama,"--I sat him down in the middle of the hallway and then I went to the end of the hallway and cajoled him to come to me. It took him about 10 minutes, but he eventually got there by laying on his back and scooting backwards to me. He's nine months now and not crawling, but I'm not too worried--my mom says I went straight from rolling and scooting to walking and never crawled, so maybe Baby Boy is taking after me. Still, babies are just so cute when they crawl that I would like Baby Boy to crawl if only for that reason, but I know he'll develop at his own pace.

Then I put him on my back in the Ergo (yay, I finally figured out how to do it! It's not as easy as the women on the video clips make it seem) and vacuumed the house and did the dishes and prepared some "finger foods" for him. Hubby and I can't eat in front of him any more without giving him some food, too, or else Baby Boy gets very upset. He wants to be in on the action (and do whatever he sees Papa and Mama doing)!