Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A busy weekend

We went to the Blueberry Festival this weekend, which is always enjoyable. It's a little pricey to get in, but it gives us something different to do and the money goes to a good place. Leah's favorite part was definitely the petting zoo. They had ducks, pigs, cows, goats, and sheep (to name a few!).


I also wound up being super crafty this weekend, too! I bought some new yarn and made a hat for Leah. It came out so cute, although she doesn't want to wear it (not even to model!). It was so easy, though, and has a lot of space for extra creativity! Here is the link for the pattern.

I had yet another craving for muffins (I love them!) so I decided to make lemon poppyseed muffins. In the end, they didn't turn out too lemon-y or poppyseed-y, but they were yummy! I toyed around with the recipe using vanilla yogurt, coconut oil, applesauce, and agave instead of some of the regular ingredients, and they are very tasty!

I also made raw chocana pudding, which was my first "raw" dish. It was okay... nothing amazing, but not bad, either. I used the recipe from Mothering Magazine and doubled it. It wound up being 1 avocado (Florida), 1 banana, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup agave syrup (instead of honey), 2 tbs. coconut oil, and 2 tsp. vanilla. You throw all that in the food processor, blend until it reaches your desired consistency, and finito! It is very sweet and I can see how, if made the right way, could probably fool someone into thinking it was the real thing. I didn't really like the taste of the avocado, though, so I'll have to try it again sometime with a Haas. Overall, pretty good (even better after being in the fridge for 2 days!).

The other neat thing I did was something I'd been meaning to try for months. I have been using soap nuts for a while now for my cloth diaper laundry. You can click the link to find out more. Basically, soap nuts are nuts from a tree that you can use as soap! I am not totally sure if I want to keep using them for my diapers (since they are all natural, there is no whitening agent), but I really like them overall! Anyway, you can make all kinds of things with the soap nuts, so I decided to make handsoap. It was very easy: I just boiled about 4 cups of water with about 15 nuts for about 15 minutes. I then let the liquid cool and added a few drops of tea tree oil (anti-fungal and smells yummy!). Now, the liquid is in an old soap pump I had saved. It washes well, although it feels different than you would expect because it is purely liquid. I was quite excited, though!

And lastly, because I love my daughter so much, and she is so adorable, here is a video of her being cute/showing off her animal sound skills (and she knows many more!).

video

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some rainy days

I am more than happy to say thank goodness for the rain! While I love summer and its sunny days, it was getting very sad to see the grass become so brown and crunchy. However, this does mean that I get stuck inside with 3 kids which is not so fun. I am one who hates being stuck inside all day!! We were supposed to go on a field trip on Tuesday for a picnic and playing in the creek, but got rained out. So... what am I to do with 3 kids and two rainy days? Go to the craft store and stock up, of course! So, with that in mind, this is how my Tuesday and Wednesday turned out:

For anyone with a little one, beans are a fantastic toy! It is a wonderful tactile experience with minimal mess. Yes, beans get thrown everywhere, but it's not "messy"... and you'd be amazed at how long they can spend playing!


Some yarn dolls (the little white one was for Leah!).


Magical floating butterflies, courtesy of Childhood Magic.


Little wooden dolls that we dressed up!


Saturday is the girls' mom's birthday. Their gift was to paint a frame that we bought at the craft store and put a (beautiful) picture of each girl in them. We wrapped them with leftover fabric and yarn/ribbon from the doll making. Gorgeous!


Somebody wishing it was sunny... :)


This last picture was tonight's dinner. It is definitely a favorite in our home (once a week!). It is such a simple and healthy pizza. We buy whole wheat naan from Wegmans, cover it with Newman's Own Peach Salsa (if anyone has a peach salsa recipe, please share!), chopped tomatoes, red bell peppers, onion, canned mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. Put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes and you get, well... perfection! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Some baking...

Since I have recently become a blog junkie (I'm checking blogs almost as much as facebook *gasp*), I've had a hankering to make some of my own things, which I haven't done in a while. Not that I haven't knitted, crocheted, or baked, but just not as much and not in the recent past. So... the drive back from Maine I started crocheting. I'm in the middle of an octopus project. I have all the legs made, but am still deciding how to make the body. A pom-pom, perhaps?

Yesterday, while Leah was napping, I decided to bake. So I looked up a ton of recipes and found a healthy oatmeal raisin recipe. Here it is:

1 cup oats
1 cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce (sugar free)
1 tsp. vanilla
raisins!

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Mix oats and milk and let sit.
3) Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in one bowl.
4) In another bowl mix egg, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla.
5) Add oats mixture to wet mixture.
6) Add dry. Mix well. Add raisins.
7) Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 15-20 minutes

These turned out great! I did make a few changes, however. I didn't have any milk on hand, so I substituted vanilla yogurt (plus a tiny bit of water to thin it out) and omitted the vanilla. I also added nutmeg and cloves. Yummy! Leah enjoyed them as a snack when she woke up and since yesterday, the three of us have devoured most of them!



I think she approves!!

So tonight I decided I would try to make some bread from scratch. While we were in Maine, my dad made a few loaves (he LOVES his bread machine)... so I figured, why not? I would have used my machine, but the recipe that jumped out at me was a regular old oven recipe. It was a rosemary onion bread that was delicious! The crust was very soft with just a bit of crunch. Maybe a tad too sweet and not quite as flavor-full as I was hoping, but still very good! You can find the recipe here.




All in all, some very successful baking! And just because she is beautiful...




Just one moment (1 day late!)

Copying this from SouleMama ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.





Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vacationland

I had the week off of work, so Kyle and I decided we would go on vacation. Since we only go to Maine about once a year to be with my dad for Thanksgiving, I decided we should go in the summer for a few extra days.

Yes. Maine is called "Vacationland."

Anyway, we had a nice time. The drive up wasn't too bad. We drove Friday night; we left at about 6 P.M. and got there about 4 A.M. It's nice driving at night because there is no traffic. Also, Leah sleeps all night, so it makes the drive easier for her as well! It's not a bad drive overall, but the last 3 hours are the worst.

Picture this. You work all day. You drive for 6-7 hours. It's the middle of the night. You hit the Maine border. "Yay," you think to yourself, "I'm in Maine! Not much longer now..." Wrong! I'm from Bangor, which is about halfway through the state. So, you still have 3 hours of driving left. In the middle of the night. I-95 in Maine is DEAD. You are driving for 3 hours with nothing to look at (just pine trees), very rarely will you pass a town (and when you do, you just see a few buildings from the road), and zero traffic. As Kyle puts it, you're lucky to see 1 car every half hour or so.

Those 3 hours are the longest part of the drive. Either way.

Nevertheless, we still got home! Jendi was pretty good, the baby slept, Kyle stayed awake the whole drive. We went to bed around 4 and got a few hours of sleep before Leah and Jendi woke me up.

That day (after everyone finally got up) we decided to go to Acadia National Park. We were going to go to an oceanarium that my brother, sister, and I loved as kids, but... after dad missed it a few times and we finally got there... it was closed!!! Oh well. So we drove to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and had a nice picnic on the rocks.


That is a picture of me wearing my new Beco Butterfly II. It is such an awesome carrier! There is NO way we could have done the hikes we did without a carrier of some sort. But then... I don't need to tell you about my obsession with babywearing. You already know... ;)


We then went up to the top of Cadillac Mountain to walk around a little bit and take some pictures (Kyle forgot the camera in the car, although dad and Julianna took plenty). Then we decided to drive to Great Head and hike there, ending up at Sand Beach.



I assure you, that water was COLD. Leah had so much fun laughing at the waves, though!

One Sunday, we took it easy. My sister and I cleaned our cars! My van has never looked so pretty. I vacuumed and cleaned everything. Then I washed it! It was so hot (not as hot as here, but still) and it felt so good to spray cold water everywhere. Leah, meanwhile, played with daddy and Jendi; running around, splashing in the wading pool. Then she got tired. So daddy put her in the Beco, walked around the block, and she was out cold! Naptime on daddy's back... score! Then, being patriotic as we are, we met up with the Winters at our favorite Chinese buffet. Yum!

Monday was a day of relaxing. We hung around the house, did some grocery shopping, took a nap. Then Kyle, Leah, and I went to visit Destiny at the store she works: the Natural Living Center. It's basically a huge health food store. I splurged and bought myself a new water bottle which I LOVE. It's glass and has a silicone sleeve to protect it. Seriously. Love. That night, we had lobsters and steak and corn on the cob for dinner. Yummy!



Tuesday was our busy day. We went to my dad's office first thing in the morning to pick out new glasses (my dad is an ophthalmologist). Then we went to my friend's barn, Tykenbay Acres. Julianna and Kyle went riding and Leah was thrilled to pet the horses! She was going to sit on a horse, but it started to rain and the horse was looking a little spooked. Next time!


Yesterday was a pretty good drive. We hit zero traffic and got home in about 9 hours! Leah was very good. She napped a lot and played or talked. When she got bored, I'd hop in the back with her (yay for a van!) and she'd hold out a book for me to read. Overall, a lovely vacation. And, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few extra random pictures from the trip.

Here she is, hugging Puppy in her carseat...


throwing shoes down the stairs...


and reading in the car.