8.31.2011

borrowed...


I know that I posted this on facebook already, but we do have some friends/family that we keep up with in ways other than facebook, so I wanted to express it here also.  Thank you all for your prayers.  We are overwhelmingly grateful for your love, support, and care for us at this time.  Please continue praying for us as we still have some difficult days ahead of us.

So many of you have walked this road too (as have we, 5 years ago, though this is a bit different), and you know well what we are experiencing.  The following article was sent to me and I thought it was excellent.  I understand that it is hard to know what to say or do when someone is going through this, especially if you have not personally experienced it.  This article gives (what I feel is) an accurate portrayal of some of the things that go through your mind.  

THIS IS IMPORTANT -- we have found ourselves humbly grateful for the ways in which everyone has shown us love and support, and I want to emphasize that as parts of this article are very direct.

It is long.  But it is so worth the read.

written by Dr. Daniel M. Doriani
Associate Professor of New Testament
Covenant Theological Seminary


Miscarriage:  A Death in the Family


            Our two daughters were playing in the next room when my wife told me the pregnancy test was positive.  Suddenly I knew that this time I wanted a son:  someone who would rather score points than cheer for them...someone who would destroy the family budget with his appetite for food instead of matching Barbie accessories.

            To be honest, we didn't know he was a boy.  But I thought of him as male simply because I knew I wanted a boy this time.  I love my two daughters dearly; now I wanted to love a son.

            My wife never shared my enthusiasm for this pregnancy.  "Something is wrong"...she'd say, then her words drifted.  Two months later, suspicions were confirmed.  When bleeding began our doctor lectured us, "You need complete bed rest.  If you can't do it at home, I'll put you in the hospital!" 

            Thirty-four hours later, at bedtime, contractions started.  Our trusted physician was away and an alien voice gave indefinite advice over the phone.  Hours spun by in a haze of pain, anxiety and exhaustion "worse than childbirth," my wife observed.  Wave after wave of pain, with no progress, only vain labor.  I thought of our child.  What is happening to him?  Is there any hope?  The doctor seemed maddeningly vague.  Should we go to the hospital?  What would be the point?  Who would watch our daughters?  And the clock propelled red numbers that measured nothing, signified nothing, into the darkness:  1:54...3:07...5:27.

            Near sunrise, friends took our daughters and we drove to the hospital.  There we waited for the disembodied voice of the other doctor to take flesh.

            By the time he arrived my wife's spirit had withdrawn to an inner space where she battled to control pain and despair.  The nurse was "gone" too, it seemed, a mindless appendage to the physician she assisted.  The doctor, the baby and I remained.  I needed to ask, for myself, for my son, for the entire family, "Is the baby dead?"  I knew the answer but I craved certainty, finality.  I longed to speak but was mute.  "Surely the doctor will explain things shortly," I told myself.

            But the doctor uttered only terse commands and grunts.  Something restrained me.  I wondered, "Why can't I ask him: 'Is the baby dead?'"  With effort my lips broke loose with something imprecise.  The doctor techno-babbled: "Incomplete spontaneous abortion...remove the product of conception...there is some tissue here."

            Tissue!  Horror and anger stilled by numbness welled up.  "That's not tissue, that's my baby!"  I shouted within, "Why can't he say, 'I'm sorry Mr. and Mrs. Doriani, your baby is dead?'  He won't even call it a fetus!  Doesn't he know what's happening here— that we have witnessed a death?"  Though I said nothing, I began to see that the evangelical view on abortion has a neglected implication:  if abortion is murder, then miscarriage ("spontaneous abortion") is a death, untimely and tragic, a death in the family.



Groping for understanding
           
            At home the phone became a howling electric snake.  Old friends and relatives not knowing our sorrow chanced to call, as did a number of informed friends.  Together they
unwittingly robbed us of what we needed most:  silence and solitude.  That night, after tending to my confused daughters and weary wife, I crept into bed knowing that I had not paused one minute to consider what had happened. 

            I was teaching at a Christian college and had to work the next morning.  Word of our loss reached there long before I arrived, and soon the simplest question "How are you doing?" grew into a riddle, a conundrum and a trial.  At first, I answered, "Debbie is alright physically.  Otherwise, I don't know how we are doing."  It satisfied no one.  Soon I said as little as possible.

            Silence...Gazes lock and break...Silence...Eyes waited and probed for more.  "Is that all you're going to say?"  My silence replied, "Can't you see that I don't want to talk, that I'm not ready to talk?"

            In the quieter moments of the next two days, very different questions troubled me — intellectual questions contradicting my convictions about the unborn and my feelings about our child.  I wondered, is heaven populated with the unborn?  Are all the unborn there?  If so, are the Soviets, who are said to perform three abortions for every live birth, filling heaven with their monstrous practice?  Or are only the progeny of believers there?  Even so there must be billions, since miscarriage is so common.  How does that affect their eternity?  Or perhaps...(the Bible says so little about these matters) — perhaps the orthodox doctrine is wrong.  Perhaps my child was not yet a person, not yet "my child."  It is hard to imagine the life of a former fetus in heaven.

            More painfully, I wondered, how did my son, so small, so undeveloped, die?  Like a higher animal, feeling but without self-consciousness?  Like a worm, all but insensitive?  Like a man, carried off by angels, rejoicing?  Our defense of the unborn, our speeches and sermons and "silent scream" videos force these questions.  If abortion is murder, miscarriage is a death in the family. 

            But it is a strange kind of a death.  Where is the funeral, the gathering of family?  It is the death of someone whom no one knew, except perhaps the mother.

            There were other questions.  Why was I in more pain than my wife?  Why did one daughter act as if nothing had happened?  And most troubling, why did I feel polluted, almost guilty?

            The next night I went jogging.  Alone in the darkness with God, answers came.  I began to understand my wife's subdued response.  She felt something was amiss, and had never attached herself to one she would never hold. 

            The answer to my feeling of defilement hit like a hammer:  I had observed an event that sounded and felt like an abortion — the abortion of my own child — and I said nothing.  The doctor's cool, detached talk of 'tissue' and 'product of conception,' his manner as he threw that 'tissue' on the floor must be what abortion is like.  At an abortion it would be psychologically impossible to say words such as "baby," "dead," or "fetus."  Yes, the life had left my child many hours earlier; it wasn't an abortion.  But I failed to defend life's dignity.  By my silence I sinned against my conscience.  I needed to repent.


A Path for Healing
           
            Several years have now passed.  The laughter and chatter of our eighteen month old child fills our house.  The anguish has receded (each day has enough trouble of its own), but the need to reflect endures.  Our second daughter, stricken as deeply by the miscarriage as a 2 1/2 year old can be, still speaks freely of dying babies.  Most adults find such openness difficult.  Common as it is, we rarely discuss miscarriage and hardly know what to do or say.

            But what do you say to a woman who loses her daughter before she ever holds her?  How do you comfort a man who cradles a son whose life is measured in minutes?

            In speaking to ten Christian couples who have each experienced miscarriage, I found agreement that the Christian community has much to learn.  All of us found friends who shared our burdens but we also endured miserable comforters who intensified our pain.  I asked two simple questions, "What helped?  What didn't help?"  We agreed remarkably.

            It helps, we felt, when friends bring meals, send cards, take care of older children, provide a warm embrace, or a calming, silent presence.  My boss (skipping Sunday school!) came to the hospital, waiting 90 minutes to see me for 90 seconds.  He said little, but his presence shouted, "We love you."  Initially, we found, the simplest expressions of basic truths bring the most healing.  We still remember people saying "Even now, God loves you...He will be faithful to you...We love you very much."

            These ways of comforting have common ground:  giving the grieving family time to be alone.  They give psychological breathing room (cards convey compassion without invading privacy).  When a friend brings a meal or takes the children for a few hours, they give a high gift of solitude.  Alone with each other the couple grows closer; alone with the Lord they learn anew why Jesus called the Holy Spirit "the Comforter."

            On the other hand, almost everyone railed against varied innocuous remarks.  First, "I know how you feel" rouses anger because the knife of miscarriage never cuts the same way twice.  Did my friends know how we felt when our pro-life doctor was substituted by someone comfortable with the slaughter of the unborn?  Two women told me the hospital kept them overnight — in the maternity ward!  One had a nurse bounce up asking, "Do you want your baby now?"  Another who bore twins entered labor in the twenty-first week of pregnancy.  As soon as the process of delivering a perfect boy and girl was finished, the process of dying began.  Named and loved, they lay in their parents' arms until no breath remained.  Another couple wondered why they were stoical, almost unfeeling about their loss.  Was something wrong with them?

            When someone says, "We know how you feel," we are skeptical.  We wonder; do you?  Do you know what the doctor said?  That this was our last chance to have a girl?  That my in-laws are glad the baby is dead? 

            Demanding to know how people feel is also offensive, forcing parents either to express or deny their feelings.  Should we speak before we are ready?  Or should we lie and smile, choking back the tears?

            Speaking of another baby invades privacy.  Perhaps the doctor has forbidden it; perhaps there has been infertility.  Above all, it implies that the lost child is easily replaced, that the parents shouldn't grieve.

            Unsolicited advice often touches raw nerves too.  One woman had three preschool children when she lost her fourth.  "You should be glad," several people dared to say!  "Why would you want a fourth?"


            Unsolicited advice set off a chain of doubt in me.  Someone volunteered, "Perhaps God allowed your miscarriage so you can minister to others with similar losses."  Perhaps, I thought.  But could not God, who is all powerful, have taught me in another way?  Would God, my loving father, take away my child (just) to teach me a lesson?

            "Maybe there was a birth defect...Maybe you weren't ready for another child."  Maybe, I thought.  But why did God, who opens and closes the womb, allow the pregnancy to begin?  As a result I began to question God's wisdom, love, and power at the worst possible time.

            Indeed, in times of distress we must recall that our Lord indeed reigns, but unwanted counsel has a fatal flaw:  it interprets someone's experience before they even know what that experience is.  Like steak in the mouth of an infant, it chokes.

            The wise comforter lets the grieved set the agenda, asking questions that refrain from probing, or suggesting false insight.  Simple words are amazingly helpful, "Can I do anything?" or "I'm available if you want to talk."

            A few are ready to talk at once.  Men typically delay for months.  But whenever the time comes, the wise friend is quick to listen and slow to speak, letting the one who has lost the child lead.  One woman captured the thoughts of many, "My friend helped me the most when she just listened, let me talk and cry."  The wise friend knows that miscarriage is a death in the family, that grieving is right. 

            In time, it becomes easier to talk.  The tears slowly dry.  Good friends can help or hinder the healing process.  The comforting friend helps by affirming two aspects of the life of the mourning parents.  First, he affirms the present, the reality, the finality of the loss of this child.  Second, he gives his friend space and time to be alone with our Lord, our Counselor.  Ultimately He must answer our questions, wipe away our tears and comfort us with His love. 


8.30.2011

for today...


Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

1. Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone canst heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

2. But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

3. Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner's prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

4. Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet

©1998, Kevin Twit Music.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

8.29.2011

quote of the day

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.
G. K. Chesterton

8.28.2011

grieving

I may write more about this at a later date (and I may not) but for now, we just wanted to make sure that friends and family know what's going on, and we covet your prayers for us in the coming days/weeks.

God, in His wisdom, has seen fit to take our little baby unto Himself much earlier than we ever dreamed.

Please pray for us as we grieve and begin the healing process emotionally (and physically for me).

Thank you to everyone who has been praying with us over the last 48 hours or so. Your love and support means so much to us during this time.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21b

8.27.2011

I Stretched a Chicken...

when i mentioned this concept to my mother, she said she pictured me standing in my kitchen pulling on a chicken at both ends...  i tried desperately to find a picture that related to this, but alas, you will have to use your imagination as she did.  and when you stop laughing, you can continue reading this post...

i used to buy whole chickens all the time after we got married, and i would roast them and then we'd eat it for dinner that night and i'd scrape up as much of the leftover chicken as i could to get a second, rarely a third meal out of the bird, and throw the rest away.  it didn't really seem that cost efficient to me, even though a roasted chicken is very tasty and i'm dying to try THIS recipe.  so, i stopped buying whole chickens.

then, i was reading a friend's farm blog HERE, and she mentioned an article about stretching a chicken for 6 meals...yes...SIX...  so, obviously i read the article, and decided i had to give it a try.  now, granted my chicken wasn't quite as large as the ones she used, but i was still surprised at the results.  

begin by placing the chicken in a large stockpot, and fill 3/4 with water.

add any assortment of vegetables(i used carrots and onions) and some sea salt.

bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for several hours...i left mine for 3-4 hours.  by this time the house was smelling SO yummy and i was craving chicken soup...even thought it was almost 100* outside.

remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool enough to handle.  separate the meat from the bones/skin.  return the bones/skin back to the pot, cover and continue simmering for several more hours.  i think it ended up being about 3 hours.  by this point my entire family was ready for chicken soup. :)

using a fine strainer, strain the broth from the bones.  

place the bones in a crockpot and cover with water.  simmer overnight.  i turned it to high for about 2-3 hours until it was bubbling and then turned it down to low for overnight.

my first batch of broth was 2 jars worth...with room left for expansion in the freezer.

the next morning, we were all ready to eat chicken soup for breakfast!  while it doesn't really look very appetizing, this made a broth that appears just as strong as the first batch.  i got about a jar and a half from this one.  

for this batch, i strained out the broth and then added the carrots into it and pureed it in the blender.

so...from one chicken, i ended up with about 7-8 cups of meat (3-4 meals worth for us), and about 3.5 jars of good broth.  not. bad.

the articles that inspired this post are Homemade Chicken Broth and How to Stretch a Chicken.

8.26.2011

cinnamon raisin granola

i love granola and my family likes it pretty well too.  i started making it about a year ago, but just made it with wheat germ for the first time this week.  if you've never bought wheat germ, i found it on the cereal aisle with the oatmeal...i'll save you the time i spent scouring the baking aisle. :)  we like our granola pretty basic around here, so there's not a whole lot to this recipe.  Click here for printable version.

4 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

in a large bowl combine oats and wheat germ.  set aside.

in a saucepan, combine brown sugar, oil, honey, and cinnamon; bring to a boil.  remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

pour over oat mixture, stir to coat.  spread in large shallow baking pan.

bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  cool.  add raisins.

recipe adapted from Taste of Home recipe found HERE

8.25.2011

Black Bean Salsa Dip

this is another recipe from a friend and can be found on page 3 of our church's cookbook for those of you that have that.  i mixed it up as a last minute idea on sunday night when we had a few college students over for dinner, and it was a big hit with them!  i alter the recipe slightly, so i will be posting my version.  Click here for printable version.

2 pkg. (8oz) light cream cheese, softened (i used regular)
3/4 cup mayo
2 green onions (i omitted)
1 chopped red bell pepper (also omitted)
1 can (3.25 oz) pitted ripe olives (optional)
1 (15oz) can black beans; drained and rinsed
1 can (8.75oz) whole kernel corn; drained
3/4 cup salsa
2 T. italian seasoning

combine cream cheese, mayo, and seasoning; mix in a bowl, whisk until smooth.  add finely chopped bell pepper, green onions, and salsa.  add beans and corn.  mix ingredients together and serve with tortilla chips.

8.24.2011

super-easy (and cheap!) hummus...

i love hummus and it's a healthy snack with some protein.  but i don't love buying hummus...so i decided to make it.  found what seemed like a good recipe and went shopping in search of tahini paste or sesame seed paste.  walmart = nada.  publix + advice of friend on which aisle = score!  however...i was not expecting the $6-$8 price range...  now i know i would get several uses out of it, but still....the chickpeas were only $0.54 a can!  so...i went home w/o tahini...  and promptly found and made this recipe.  click here for printable version.

2 cans (15oz) garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained, liquid reserved
4 cloves garlic, crushed (i was lazy and used garlic powder)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

in a blender or food processor, combine garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, salt, and olive oil.  blend on low speed, gradually adding reserved bean liquid until desired consistency is achieved.


so yeah...that's it.  pretty simple, eh?  and the grand total...$1.08 + spices.  BOO. YAH. :-)

it was better after sitting overnight, so make it a day ahead.  recipe adapted from THIS recipe at allrecipes.com.

8.23.2011

protein pancakes (and a flying girl!)...

okay...i'm officially declaring it "recipe week" here.  although, i post a lot of recipes, but not a week's worth.  in the last 3 days or so, i've mixed up several things that i thought were blog-worthy and hope you'll find them helpful.  

one of the things i love about my midwives is that they are so much more than that.  they are counselors, nutritionists, dietitians, herbalists, mentors, so on and so on.  i am encouraged to eat 80g of protein a day during pregnancy (including 2 eggs per day) along with a ton of other healthy stuff (maybe that's another post?!?) to promote good health for me and baby.  good nutrition is essential for a successful homebirth, and protein is so crucial for the development of babies and energy for moms.  SO -- you may notice that all of these recipes focus on protein!!! :-)

today's recipe comes from a friend/neighbor.  i've been wanting to try it for sometime now and just kept forgetting about it.  it is adapted from the More with Less cookbook....  click here for printable version.

in a blender or bowl with wire whisk, whip together:
1 cup cottage cheese
4 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar
1/4 c. oil
1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon (optional)


C was helping me make the pancakes this morning and she told me she was going to fly...her way of flying struck me as really funny so i grabbed the camera and had her do it again...
video

okay...this is an example of what NOT to do...


those beautiful pancakes above turned out like this...

yeah...it looks like a pancake battleground.  reason: too much batter and a griddle that was not greased enough.  SO -- make SMALL pancakes, and be sure to oil your griddle well.  these are stickier than regular pancakes.  you will see below that i went with a smaller amount and they turned out much better 



overall, these were pretty good...my husband still says he prefers regular pancakes, but i think he was a little grossed out once i told him WHAT the secret ingredient (cottage cheese) was. :)  i will probably make them again, if only as another breakfast/snack option for me to get in some protein.  i ended up using about 1/2 of a 1/3 cup measuring cup to pour the batter out, and it made about 16 pancakes.  that means they have about 3.5g protein each.  i want to try making them with whole wheat flour, with would bump them up to 4g of protein each.  

8.16.2011

my favorite marriage books...so far...

(y'all....i have typed this post 3 times now and blogger is still not cooperating, so please forgive the different size and color font for the second half of the post.  i'm done trying to fix it.)

we celebrated our 7th anniversary in may.  sometimes i can't believe it's been that long and other times i wonder where the time has gone, because wasn't it just yesterday we were on our honeymoon?!?  i think that's a good thing...when you feel like you've been with someone forever, but yet, it's been so great that you just don't know where the time has gone.  couples who have been married for 40, 50, even 60 years say the same thing.  i feel like i have nothing to offer when i look at them, because they have had SO much more experience than me with my 7 years.  but...they had 7 years...and then 7 more...and then 7 more...and so on...  so, everyone has to start somewhere.  

in those 7 years, we have read a handful (and it really is a handful considering just how many are out there!) of books, specifically pertaining to marriage.  all of them have been good, but there have been 3 that have really "hit home" with me.  if you haven't read them, i encourage you to secure a copy as soon as you can and read it with your spouse, or read it individually and then make time to discuss it together.  we actually went on a date several months ago for the purpose of discussing one of these books that we had read individually.  i was pleased to find that at least 2 of them are available through my local library system, but there's always used copies on amazon, or post on facebook and see if a friend has a copy you can borrow.  :)   if you have read them, i'd love to know your feedback.

the subtitle to this book doesn't show up in this little box, but the subtitle says, "What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy more Than Happy?"  that is a good summary of what the book is about (imagine that!). "Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person.  It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply."  we read this book together several years ago (before C) and it sparked a lot of good discussions between us.  i've been wanting to read it again, because i feel like i need the reminders...constantly.  i'm forgetful, y'all.  gary thomas also has two other books out that i really want to read (in fact i had them from the library but had to return them before i was able to read them.)...sacred influence - for wives, and sacred parenting...for parents, obviously. :)


i have to admit that of these 3 books i am listing here, this one is probably my 3rd choice.  but, it did make the cut and it is being discussed here, so obviously i thought it was good.  watch out -- this one is pretty convicting, if i remember correctly...it's been awhile since we read this one too.  Dave Harvey not only offers a biblical diagnosis of marital strife, but prescribes the cure as well - the gospel.  When Sinners Say "I Do" provides clarity in conflict, hope in despair, and points the way to a joy-filled, God glorifying marriage. -- C.J. Mahaney  the style of this one is a little bit lighter and i remember having several laughs as we read.

 

this is our most recent read of the three, and my favorite.  i think i can safely say that this book profoundly changed a lot of the ideas i had about marriage and really helped me to understand the roles of husbands and wives so much better.  i was NOT on-board with everything in this book because of some personality differences and ways in which i felt the author was being stereo-typical of men and women, but for the most part i thought he had some great things to say.  he has 6 chapters of practical helps for wives to know what it really means to respect their husbands, and 6 chapters of practical helps for husbands to know what it really means to love their wives.  while not all of these things will appeal to all couples, i think every couple can find something on the list that they can relate to.  if nothing else, it really gets you to talking (or it did us) and communicating about feelings, needs, etc.  while the other two books focus more on the individual's and couple's spiritual lives, this focuses more on practically living that out.  both are so important for a healthy, God-glorifying marriage.  

SO -- if you were looking for something to read...look no further. :)  again, if you have read any of these books, i'd love to hear your feedback, and probably so would the rest of the readers...because they need more than just MY opinion. :-)

PS - thanks to y'all who have told me recently that you enjoy reading this blog.  i enjoy writing it and sharing our lives with you.  thanks for reading and encouraging me!

8.15.2011

macaroni salad

the base for this recipe could actually be used for potato salad too, i think.  i made some alterations to the original recipe, so i'll give you my version and then list the link to the original recipe below.


Click here for printable version.
2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles (i used whole grain...don't recommend it...they are a bit too grainy)
4 hard-boiled eggs,chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped (i didn't have any, so i omitted)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped (i used green)
2 Tbsp. pickle relish
2 cups miracle whip
3 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1/8-1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp celery seed (i didn't have any, so i omitted)
black pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
paprika to taste

bring large pot of lightly salted water to boil.  add macaroni and cook for 8-10 minutes. drain and set aside to cool.  In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, onion, celery, red pepper, and relish.  In a small bowl, stir together the salad dressing, mustard, white sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and celery seed.  Pour over the vegetables, and stir in the macaroni until well blended.  Sprinkle paprika on top.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.  this may be too much sauce for this amount of macaroni, so pour slowly and if you don't
use  all the sauce, save it and check again after it sits, as the pasta will absorb some of the sauce.

original recipe found HERE

8.14.2011

Chocolate Snickerdoodles

these were originally supposed to go on top of the Snickerdoodle Cupcakes (recipe HERE), but it just seemed better to keep them separate.  but they were still good cookies. :-)



1/2 c. butter flavored shortening 
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. cocoa
2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
sugar, for rolling

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cream shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add vanilla and beat again.  

2.  In a medium bowl combine cocoa, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and stir until completely incorporated.  Place extra sugar in a small bowl.  Roll mixture into small balls (size is completely up to you, I did about 1/2") and roll in sugar.  Place about 2" apart on greased cookie sheets.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove, let sit for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

original recipe found HERE

8.13.2011

C "reading" (another bonus post for the grandparents)


this is one of C's favorite books, which is kinda funny seeing as i tend to think of it as more of a "boy's" book. she loves to watch big machinery and has especially enjoyed the crane on a road nearby.  we've been reading this book ever since she could sit up, so it's really no surprise that she has it memorized, but it still caught me off guard when i heard her "reading" it to herself the other day.  i convinced her to read it for me on the camera, but as you will see, she is quick to finish so she can "see" herself. :)  also...she had been eating ice, so she is having trouble forming some of the words...probably just noticeable to me, but thought i'd mention it anyway. :)


video

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting...


3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 sticks butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
Cinnamon sugar: 
1 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together dry ingredients (except for cinnamon sugar).  In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 -3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour.  Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c. butter, softened
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon

With the paddle attachment cream butter until smooth and creamy for 2-3 minutes.  With mixer on low speed, add 3 cups sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon; mix until light and fluffy.  If necessary gradually add remaining cup of sugar to reach desired consistency.  Frost cupcakes and add a chocolate snickerdoodle, if desired. 

original recipe found HERE

8.12.2011

journal of a housewife (sans desperation)...

a friend and i were talking recently about how our perspective has changed since becoming mothers, and how it doesn't take much for us to feel like we got a lot done in a day...but, i know for me that didn't happen right away and i really struggled with NOT being able to get as much done as i used to...but, it really is all about perspective and realizing that training these little souls and minds is our most important job and the rest will get done...eventually. :)

follow that up with a recent blog post by another friend (HERE) which i thoroughly enjoyed reading (mom says it's 'cause i'm nosy...i say it's 'cause i miss my friends and like to know how/what they're doing), and i decided to give you a glimpse into a stay-at-home day here.  i really do like hearing what other moms/families are doing, so any of you bloggers out there, feel free to copy the idea...like i am doing.

i should start by saying that yesterday was a bit of an unusual day for us for several reasons...C was running a fever all day (2 year molars???) and i had extreme nausea coupled with unusual amounts of energy (combo of 1st and 2nd trimester?!?)...so it was a low-key day and yet i was still able to be productive as C didn't feel like doing too much. (we won't go into the amount of elmo watched yesterday, but when a usually active 2 year old spends much of the day lying on the couch...)

i love to listen to music and i like the way that certain music sets the tone for our home/day.  so, when we weren't listening to elmo, we listened to these cds...





  • made breakfast (eggs & biscuits), C assisted
  • got very, very sick while cooking and scared C (she had no idea i could make those sorts of sounds!)
  • cleaned up from breakfast, dumped ice trays, loaf of wheat bread in breadmaker
  • cut-up cantaloupe that has been sitting on counter for 6 days smelling very strongly... (C helped taste-test while i cut...)
  • set-up C's art things in dining room so she could color for a while...
(yes, she is in her jammies...fever days call for jammies.)
  • fought with a new box of stretch-tite (my favorite plastic wrap, btw...usually works great, but the beginning was a little rough going for this box)
  • discovered a load of laundry in the washer that had been sitting for 2 days...restarted :-(
  • made casserole for the freezer and worked on menu for next week
  • read and cuddled with C for about 30 min.
  • switched laundry over to dryer/started cleaning washing machine using THIS method
  • bread out of machine, cleaned kitchen, started dishwasher
  • folded 2 loads of laundry that had been sitting in the laundry room mocking me for 2 days
  • straightened the house (along with stopping to have a tea party with C and play restaurant)
  • folded laundry
  • made lunch - oatmeal for C (her choice), leftover chicken & broccoli alfredo for me (yum!)
  • cleaned up, bread in oven, banana wheat bread in machine (recipe HERE)
  • napped with C for 30 minutes, checked e-mail, blogs, facebook, pinterest while she slept
  • clipped coupons from the last week and the ones that mom sent in the mail
  • snuggled with C on the couch and shared a snack of warm banana wheat bread with PB :-)
  • talk to my dad on the phone, played tea party and blocks with C
  • worked on coupons some more
  • snuggled with C on the couch and watched Little House (oh so dreary!)
  • made dinner/started to unload d/w but got phone call (thanks for finishing, G!!)
  • cleaned up from dinner
  • sat on couch with C...she fell asleep...i fell asleep...30-45 minutes
  • fixed snack for C (glad she wanted to eat!)
  • went to bed at 9:30 (i know...party-animal!)
so there ya have it...i think C started feeling worse as the day progressed, thus the frequent snuggling in the afternoon/evening, but i was happy to snuggle and thankful to be able to do so.

what do your days look like?

banana wheat bread (bread machine recipe)


1 egg yolk
1/2 cup ripe banana (sliced)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
2 tbsp. poppy seeds (optional - i left them out)

i used the dough setting on my machine, which runs for 1:40.  when finished, i transfer to a loaf pan and let rise for 45 minutes.  then, bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

this is a mild banana flavor, so it's not like a sweet banana bread.  it's more like sandwich bread with banana flavor...so, it would be pretty gross for a turkey sandwich...but PBJ or PBH would be downright tasty.

i enjoyed it as a snack with some PB yesterday...and the idea of nutella on it sounds really good too.


and that is blueberry-pomegranate juice...one of my new obsessions. :-)

8.09.2011

the next american idol...

thanks for the title idea...you know who you are. :)  yep, sorry folks, no exciting recipes or homemaking tips for you today...just another video of our little diva.  i've been trying to capture this one for awhile now, but i was always a few seconds too late or she wasn't in the mood, or she got camera shy, or some other such nonsense.  but, yesterday i had it all planned out and by george! i was determined to get it.  once she realized the camera was set-up, she decided she was more interested in that...  thus the comments at the beginning about "all done elmo."  no, i do not force my child to watch elmo.  quite the opposite.  i have to limit the amount of elmo because for her it would be all-elmo-all-the-time. :)  if you are not familiar with the section of sesame street known as elmo's world (usually in the last 30 min of the program), it's about a 10-15 minute segment and it's actually pretty cute.  there's a interesting cartoon lady who sings songs and in this particular episode she's singing/performing "the wheels on the bike".  i needn't tell you that we are fond of that song around here. :)  we noticed that every time it would come on, C would jump up on the ottoman and start singing and dancing/performing the motions.  classic.  so, i finally captured it on video.

video

8.07.2011

the abc's...according to C...

and once again...grab your dramamine and enjoy! :-)

PS -- you will also notice...when she's done...she's DONE!

video

Old Domma Had a Farm...

perhaps we had some sugar before this filming...i don't remember...  then again...she has this much energy most days.

**warning**  not for the faint of stomach... dramamine not included...

video

8.05.2011

crockpot enchiladas...the recipe i promised last week...

i mentioned this recipe last week on facebook and had every intention of posting it the next day, but never got around to it.  so here it is, finally.  this is another one that i saw on pinterest, but the original recipe (and as usual, a better picture) is from HERE.

Brown ground chicken breast (i used turkey), chopped onions and green peppers in a skillet. 

stir in kidney beans, rotel, water, chili powder, and black pepper; bring to a boil.

in the meantime, prepare the crockpot -- spray with cooking spray.

cover and simmer meat mixture for 10 minutes.

layer about 3/4 cup meat mixture in bottom of crockpot.

top with cheese

and a tortilla

and continue layering...

until all ingredients are used

cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  


Click here for printable version.
Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken breast 
2 tsps chili powder 
1 cup chopped onions 
1/8 tsp black pepper 
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers 
3 ozs shredded cheddar cheese
3 ozs shredded Monterey Jack cheese 
30 ozs canned dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
10 ozs undrained tomatoes and green chilies 
8 whole fat-free flour tortillas 
1/3 cup water

Directions:

In a skillet, cook chicken, onions, and bell peppers until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Stir in kidney beans, tomatoes and green chilies, water, chili powder, and black pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for ten minutes. 
In a small bowl, combine shredded cheeses. In a 5-quart slow cooker, layer about 3/4 cup chicken mixture, one tortilla and some cheese. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on low for five hours or until heated through.

Makes 10 Servings

Nutritional Info Per Serving: Calories 296; Total Fat 8 g; Cholesterol 44 g;
Carbs 32 g; Sodium 626 mg; Fiber 6 g; WW Points 6
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