Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!

It has been a great year. I just want to thank God for all the wonderful adventures we had this year. We love being the parents of two sweet boys. We are richly blessed. 

Accepting Help

I was at the grocery store today with both boys. I had Warren in the ergo (thank God for ergos because they keep creepy people from touching my baby). As I was unloading the cart at the checkout, an older woman asked if she could help me. Honesty, I enjoy grocery shopping and I think of unloading the cart as exercise. I felt like I didn't need the help and I almost said no.  But I said yes, even though she unloaded my cart more slowly than I did because I knew it would make her feel useful. 

Because I didn't let my pride get in the way, I was a blessing to her because she was able to help me and she was a blessing to me because I could focus on the boys and the cashier. I encourage you (and myself in the future) to accept help when it is offered. I am pretty sure she, the cashier, and I all left the store in a better mood thanks to her generosity in helping me. I am thankful for little blessing that God puts in our lives. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pretzels and a Cookie recipe

Cindy usually makes these cookies each year, but she is out of town so I had to finally learn how to make them. She gave me the recipe years ago and explained all the things she changes. I have handwritten notes, that I took about the process, written all over the margins of the recipe. I will summarize it all in one place for you. 

Shortbread/Sugar/Spritz Cookies

1-1/2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 flour, sifted (or 2 cup flour AND 1/4 cup cocoa powder for chocolate layer)

***Note: I make one batch of chocolate dough and one of vanilla. Together they yielded about 13 dozen cookies. 

1. Cream butter and sugar together. I put mine in the KitchenAid and beat for 6-10 minutes. 

2. Add the vanilla and egg. Beat a few more minutes. 

3. Add flour by quickly. Don't overmix. 

4. You may need to refrigerate the dough to make it more stiff. I press one layer into a square baking dish and stick it in the  freezer while I make the second layer. 

*** Note: if you make the vanilla batch first, you don't have to clean your bowl or beater when you make the chocolate batch. 

5. Pull your dough out of the frig once it has stiffened some. Cut in half.

 Roll the first piece out. Once it is rolled out a bit, roll the dough up like a jelly roll. Those are your spiral cookies.

 For the striped cookies, cut the rest of the dough in half and stack the two halves on top of each other. Now roll out. 

***Note: these cookies keep well inthe  refrigerator. I kept mine for about two weeks in the frig. I would slice off about a dozen and cook them and wrap the rest of the dough up and put it back in the frig. 

Oh, and we made chocolate covered pretzels. They are so addicting. We made white chocolate ones too, but I didn't take a picture of them. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I don't know how germs get passed around in this house... but three of us now have colds. Martin only loves to stick his face next to Warren's and say, "hi, baby! Hi, baby! Hi, baby!" 

Thankfully, Martin seems to be on the upswing and Warren doesn't seem be as sick as Martin and me. 

Don't you just love those pictures?!? I hope they are wonderful friends for the rest of their lives. I am thankful that Martin has a brother. I look forward to seeing what messes they get into. Today Martin and I played with bowls of water and soap bubbles. Martin dumped it all over the kitchen floor. It needed to be washed. :) 

Martin and I wrapped Jared's Christmas present today. Ha ha. I let Martin pick out and put on the ribbon. He was so excited. 

Merry almost Christmas!!! 

Monday, December 22, 2014


I made this quilt for my parents three Christmases ago, but I finally remembered to take pictures of it. Cindy gave me a gallon bag of fun scraps and told me to have fun coming up with pattern. I really like how this quilt turned out. 

I am an engineer, so things have to be symmetrical. I really want to do random quilts sometimes, but once I have the pieces laid out, I can't bring myself to do it. They always end up with some sort of pattern. You can seem how this pattern goes: blue, green, red, blue, green, red. I do like how the scraps are different sizes and not all completely square. That is as non symmetrical as I get. :) 

Again, pictures don't do it justice

And here is the back:
It is pretty random. I don't like solid backs anymore. I try to do something to break them up. 


Martin has been fighting a cold since Thursday.  He seems to be on the mend today. I think I have caught his cold now. Oh well. We both should be healthy by Christmas!! 

We are spending lots of time in our pajamas, reading books, playing with play dough and cookie cutters, coloring, and snuggling up under warm quilts. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Baby Quilt

One of my friends and I have a mutual love for purple and green. My siblings remind me that these are the colors for Barney and the Joker. Nevertheless, I love the colors together. When I found out my friend was having her first girl, after three boys, I wanted to make her a purple and green quilt. 

I finished the top to this quilt back in August, but I don't like it. It did not turn out the way I had hoped in my head. The pattern ended up being WAY more of a hassle than I expected and I don't like how the colors look together. I thought all the random purples and greens would look cute together, but I just don't like it. 

I finally quilted it and sewed on the binding this week. I told myself, an okay quilt is better than no quilt at all. The scrappy binding does help pull all the colors together a bit more. Unfortunately, you can't see the scrappy binding well in the pictures. So in the end I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. They can't all be your favorites I guess. 

It was great to be quilting and sewing on binding again. It had been too long. I hope to get back to sewing once I settle in to the routine of two kids. I actually woke up with my alarm at 6:45 this morning. Woohoo. I will slowly get my myself back into a 5:30-6:00 start. I have to get up before these boys!! 

Friday, December 12, 2014


Guess who came to visit us this weekend?!?  

Martin is pretty excited!! And for the third visit in a row we have had calzones.  I think Michelle plans to come when I plan to make calzones. Ha. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thank You Cards

Martin and I have been working on thank you cards for baby presents and meals. Each one is unique. He saw me writing and wanted to draw on the cards. I used his enthusiasm to my advantage and we decorated some blank cards. 

I am learning that I can either fight his energy or harness it to be useful. A few nights ago I let him crush up crackers for the top of a casserole. It was messy, took a long time, and I had to clean my counters when he was finished. It also kept him busy and happy while I made the rest of dinner.  

Five Dollar Fix

The week before Warren was born the dryer knob stopped working. It cracked and spun in circles without resetting the timer. We kept forgetting to look to see if we could buy a new knob so we used pliers for a while to turn the switch, but one day Jared put them back in his work truck without thinking, while he was gathering up some other tools around the house. That wouldn't have been a huge deal, however, I had thrown all of Martin's stuffed animals and blankets in the washer before his nap. Thankfully, I had another pair of pliers in my car. 

My Dad stopped by and I mentioned wanting to order a new knob. He pulled out his phone, searched eBay, and found a knob for $4.88 with free shipping. So he ordered it for me and I put it on when it came. It works perfectly. 

After dealing with complicated things, insurance, doctors appointments, birth certificates, etc. it is nice to have something work so easily and in one try. Praise God for a simple and cheap fix. 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Tinker toys

This little guy and his "truck" have been riding around my house, especially my kitchen, since Jared made the truck on Sunday. I fix the truck about every 10-20 minutes when one of the parts fall off. 

We built a house for the mouse out of pillows, but I tired of rebuilding it each time it fell over. I am excited because some of my Christmas presents came in a large box, which I have plans of turning into the mouse's house for a few days. Then it will go into the trash. Another box came in the mail which is going to be a car. Who needs toys? I will post pictures later this week. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Quick Chocolate Fudge Icing

Mondays are catch up days. I made chex mix, chicken stock, and white bean chili. That white bean chili recipe is delicious. It is listed under recipes on my blog.  I highly recommend making it. I will be working it into our winter rotation more. It is so easy. I also went grocery shopping, picked up Warren's birth certificate (why do you have to pay $32 for a copy?), made unofficial copies for the insurance companies, and dropped copies off to the insurance company. Thanks to my mom for watching the boys while I did all of that. 

I was battling a fever and infection all of last week so I am still catching up on things around the house. My last lab was last Monday!! Hooray. I can't believe I have been teaching for six years.  Crazy. 

Recipes still to come:
Sweet potato pie
Chicken pot pie
Sweet potatoes

I thought I would quickly give you my go to chocolate icing for sheet cakes. I cheat and make boxed cake (and I usually use applesauce instead of oil - no one will know the difference and you can have twice as much cake because it is healthier - ha). 

Chocolate Fudge Icing
1 c. Sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 c milk or cream
2-3 squares unsweetened chocolate (or 6-9T unsweetened cocoa powder)

Combine in a pan. Bring to a boil. Boil 3-5 minutes. Pour over cake. 

This little man will be five weeks this weekend. I don't know where the time has gone. Babies have the most kissable cheeks. I love them. 

P.s. While I was nursing Warren last night, at 3am, I heard Martin roll over in his crib and say, "yes, Christmas". He never moved or said anything else the whole time I was in there. What a funny kid. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Luke 16:7-10

This stuck out to me today, especially the line about doing ALL that you were commanded. I can't ever do all that I am commanded. I am thankful for Christ's righteousness. 

Luke 16:7-10
Will any of you you has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, "Come at once and recline at my table"? Will he not rather say to him, "Prepare supper for me and dress properly and serve me while I eat and drink"? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, "We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty."

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Thankful 21-30

I am thankful 

21. That Martin often sleeps through Warren waking up in the middle of the night. 

22. For books and a mother that helped me love to read. 

23. For the blankets Lindy Hall crocheted for my boys. They both love them. Martin asked to be tucked in with his blanket every night.  Also for the big one that she made us for our wedding. I use it on cold nights when I have to get up to nurse. 

24. For Christmas decorations. They make the house so jolly. 

25. For chocolate and peanut butter and any combination of them. 

26. For Swaddle wraps. 

27. For BumGenius diapers. 

28. For fabric and knowing how to quilt. 

29. For antibiotics. 

30. For tea. 

Friday, November 28, 2014


Martin reads the Charlie Brown Christmas story to Charlie Brown while Jared and I put up the Christmas tree. Martin even put on a few ornaments. What fun!! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cranberry Sauce

My mom asked me to make the cranberry sauce for thanksgiving because she said her sauce didn't turn out right last year. I am sure her sauce was wonderful, but since I am not doing much else, I thought I could do this because it is easy.  Most of the time, things just taste better if other people make them. I am following the America's Test Kitchen recipe (of course) instead of the recipe on the back of the bag. 

The changes they suggest are to decrease the water, add a bit of salt, and pick through the berries to remove the unripe berries.  I made this tonight because they said it could be refrigerated for up to a week. I will let you know how it turns out and post a picture, maybe. 

Cranberry Sauce
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
12 oz. cranberries, I used a few extra handfuls

Pick over the cranberries and throw away any unripe or rotten berries.  

Bring water, sugar and salt to boil over medium heat. I was changing the babies diaper and the mixture was boiling when I came back. I am not sure how long it boiled for. 

Add cranberries and simmer until slightly thickened and two-thirds of berries have burst. This should take about 10 minutes. Honestly, I have no idea what two-thirds of the berries look like because once they start bursting it changes the way the amounts look. So I just set my timer for ten minutes. 

Cool completely for at least 1 hour.  

I will post recipes for cornbread dressing and my sweet potato pie soon. Ps. I am cheating and I bought a pie crust this year. Gasp. When you have a non-yet-four-week-old baby, you pick your battles. The filling is so much more important!! I don't even like pie crust. I usually pick them off. 


Yes, some of my beans have letters written on them. I thought this was such a fun idea that I had to share it. I want to have the whole alphabet several time, but right now I just wrote down the six letters that Martin knows (before you think, "oldest child syndrome" and roll your eyes, let me explain, Martin brought me a book one day and pointed to the O and kept saying "O O O O". So I decided to ask him to find Os in other book. He did so well at that so I started adding on letters. I am not pushing it at all. I add a letter in every two weeks or so. Anyhow, he thinks it is a fun game and I don't see a reason to stop him. He doesn't know his colors yet. And he knows very few shapes. It all balances out in the end). 

 We have been sorting the beans into bowls, which also have a card with a letter on them. I saw this idea on The Imagination Tree blog. She uses muffin liners with each letter written on it for the sorting containers. It is a great cheap way of working on letters and sorting. A bag of beans is about $1 and I have several sharpies around the house already. I might do the smaller letters in a different color. She also made beans in various colors for her girls to sort... Maybe I should make those so he can learn his colors. 

Martin loves playing with the beans. We will have to be more careful with them once Warren starts crawling. I know it is time to put them away when Martin starts to throw them.  He is very predictable. He throws a fit or starts whining right before nap time and he runs into things and acts really goofy right before bed. I am thankful that he is easy to read. 

Warren is now in 0-3 and 3 month clothes. I hope to pack away the newborn clothes this weekend. Sniff sniff. They grow so fast. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Oranges with Granddad

Martin loves to copy Granddad. He often follows him around and tries to stand like my Dad. It is precious.  I love it. Here, they were eating oranges together. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Baby Smiles and Comparison Photos

Both my boys have smiled as they fall asleep. It is precious. I love watching them!! 

What do you think? Do they look alike? 

 I think they definitely look different. I love them both. 

Thankful 11-20

I am thankful for:

11. The bouncy seat that both my babies have been able to use and enjoy. 

12. For friends that lend us or give us baby gear (and clothes) so we don't have to spend extra money on it. Thank especially to Jeanne for the best pair of maternity jeans ever and the Moby wrap!! The jeans are perfect for right after the baby is born and for several months after that. :) Thanks to Beth, Jeanne, Missy, and Kelly for all the boy clothes. 

13. For two cars that run well and are paid for. 

14. For jobs that pay the bills. 

15. For warm quilts on cold days. 

16. For rain boots and a rain jacket on rainy days. I may have jumped through a few puddles on the way to class last night. 

17. For a washer and dryer that run and are in my house. I am so thankful I don't have to go to a laundrymat or take my clothes down several flights of stairs to wash them. 

18. For good books. 

19. For the women's Bible study that meets on Tuesdays at church. And for Mary and Esther who work so hard on it. 

20. For NPR and the Economist for good news from around the world. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Top Baby Products

If I had to list my top baby products (or things you actually will use) this comes in third after only the carseat and crib. There isn't anything else on my top baby product list; this is it. 

My sister-in-law Linnea suggested it and I am so glad she did. We used it all the time for Martin.  I used it while I cooked, sewed, and showered (so that I could keep him nearby, but not have to hold him). 

There is no other product that makes my list. The ergo is nice. A changing table is okay. I do really like my glider rocker, but I could sit on the couch. A baby bathtub is worthless; we use the kithen sink. 

A boppy might come close to making the list. I find it extremely useful for nursing, but I know other mothers that don't like it, which is why I can't suggest it to everyone. I also like it for helping them to sit up and tummy time. 

But the bouncy chair is the one thing I would tell other mothers to buy. It is totally worth it and useful. 

Do you have any favorite baby products? What don't you use that you thought you would? 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One Hour Rolls

Tinker toys are some of Martin's new favorite toys. I am so glad; I love them. We made a spinning wheel last night and it kept Martin busy for almost half an hour. We also sorted the colors and shapes into different piles. It is teaching me patience because I want to jump in a sort them really fast and take over. :) I have to remind myself that he is learning, even if he isn't using them the "right" way all the time. 

My mom came over and watched Martin while Warren and I went to his 2 week check-up. What? How is he two weeks old? He is growing well which means I don't have to wake him at night to feed him if he is sleeping. Yay! She also collected my trash, washed diapers, vacuumed, and prepped chicken for dinner for tonight (we are having sour cream chicken - if you haven't made the   recipe yet, go do it! It is one of our favorites!!!). 

What happens when you want to have bread with a meal, but you didn't plan ahead? Let me introduce you to one of my favorite bread recipes from my mother-in-law, One Hour Yeast Rolls! My mom also threw these together for me yesterday. Thanks, Mom!! 

One Hour Rolls

1 tsp salt
3 T oil
2 T sugar
1 c. Milk
2-1/4 tsp yeast
2 c flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Heat sugar, oil, salt, and milk to 110-125 degrees. Pour over flour and yeast. Dough will be sticky, but not soupy. It may need more flour. 

Dump on a floured surface. Sprinkle top with flour. Pat to a 1/4" thickness. Cut into rounds. 

Lay on a greased cookie sheet (or on parchment paper). Place a pat of butter in the middle of each round. Fold in half and pinch edges to seal closed. 

Closed with dry dish towel. Rise 1-2 hours. Bake 12-15 minutes or until slightly brown. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Creepy Junk Mail

We received this in the mail today. I think it is creepy. The other side asks, "Jared, have you told faith how much you love her?"

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thankful 10 Days

Since I am a new mom and have to do these things when I have time, I have decided to group them in three sets of ten. 

1. I am thankful for Jared and his constant encouragement and support. I am also thankful that he is handy and can fix things around the house and loves to keep our yard looking beautiful. I have loved being married to him for over 5 years. I also love that he is not picky and will eat the same thing three days in a row. :)  and I love that he can make me laugh all the time. We have so much fun being married. 

2. I am so thankful for my 2 healthy and happy boys.  I have secretly found myself wishing that the 3rd child (if we are blessed with more children someday) will also be a boy because already having everything is making this baby so much easier. I love Martin's imagination and have so much fun playing with and reading to him. Teaching him new words is also fun. I hope he and Warren are great friends. I am glad both my boys are good eaters and sleepers. And I am so thankful that Martin sleeps through Warren's crying in the middle of the night.  The transition to having two boys in one room has been so much easier than we expected. I know people have been praying for us and I am so appreciative.  

3. I am thankful for people who are and will be bringing us meals. It is wonderful to not have to cook every day. It has allowed me time to rest, play with Martin, and hold Warren. Thank you!! 

4. I am thankful for a relatively easy pregnancy and delivery and (so far) recovery. I am so thankful for Missy, my nurse, who taught me to breath properly while waiting for my epidural and for demanding that the they find an anesthesiologist to come do an epidural during shift change. For Dr. Miller, who came and did the fastest epidural ever at 9cm (and for Dr. Ogburn postponing a heart procedure so Dr. Miller could come up to labor and delivery). And for Dr. Jennings who was super awesome and involved in my delivery. I was so impressed that he never left the room and was so encouraging. I never wanted a man to deliver my babies, but I would request him any time (I wish I could request him again). 

5. I am thankful for sleep, which is so much easier to get after you aren't pregnant anymore. Ugh, pregnancy is so exhausting and it is so great to not have to wake up and use the restroom every two hours. 

6.  I am thankful for fall. It is my favorite season. I love the colors and flavors. I am so thankful for thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, and that I get to spend it with my ever growing family. 

7. I am thankful for my parents and all that they do for me. I knew Martin was well taken care of while he stayed with them. I am glad he likes them so much. I am thankful they bring me food and watch my kids and run errands for me. They are so sweet. I am thankful for their example and also for all their prayers. Oh and I am grateful for all their help on the kitchen project. We wouldn't have finished, by the time the baby came, without you. 

8. I am thankful for my parents-in-law. Cindy made us a meal the first day we were home and she spent her day off helping me around the house and demanding that I stop picking things up. I am also thankful for the chocolate doughnuts Jason brought us in the hospital. And I am also thankful for their Godly example.  

9. I am thankful for food. I think I have mentioned it in almost every comment. I am glad God gave us a bunch of different kinds of food. 

10. I am thankful for my house. I love it. I think it is the perfect size for our family. It keeps me from collecting too much stuff. It keeps me creatively finding new ways to use the small spaces. I love how cozy it is! And I especially love my kitchen.  

Thursday, November 06, 2014


Here is the current state of our kitchen. We finished enough of it to make it livable until we get around to everything else on the list. The yellow walls are growing on me. I really like them in the sunlight. They show up as a much darker yellow in these pictures. 

As you can see I have only finished one of the four window curtains. Maybe I can find time to do those over Christmas break. :) 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I will get back to blogging about projects and meals in a few weeks. Right now I am just enjoying my two boys. Martin and I play a lot while the baby sleeps. 

My mom watched Martin while I went to Warren's first doctor visit this afternoon. He has already gained 11 ounces since we left the hospital and is 5 ounces past his birth weight!! What?!? He is growing so fast. 

While I was gone my mom pulled down the tinker toys for Martin to play with. They are my old set and one my ultimate favorite toys! I love toys that can turn into many different things. I am glad my son seems to enjoy them as well. 

This evening he kept playing with them and built a drill (seen below) which he went around and screwed in every screw he could find in the house. He has been watching us work on the house apparently. He even makes a little drilling noise when he touches each screw. It is funny. 

He also made a vacuum and guitar (which I only figured out after he pointed to a picture of one in a book and started imitating the person playing it). I am glad he is creative. I hope it continues. 

We ate our morning snack inside a fort made of pillows. This is one of our favorite things to do. I try to only build one about once a week so that he doesn't get bored of them. I look forward to when Warren can join in. :) 

Thanks bunches to Dasha for a meal tonight. It was perfect. I think I am coming down with a cold and the salad and grilled chicken really hit the spot. I had cooked up some broccoli and green beans from our CSA bin (because they needed to be used) and it went perfectly with the rice. Martin was a huge fan. 

Currently, I am holding the baby and sipping some tea while I wait for Jared to come home. I am very thankful for all my caring friends and wonderful family. We feel so loved and taken care of. Thank you!! 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


The brothers!!!

I love them together. Martin is doing a great job sleeping through all of Warren's noises. Jared went back to work today. We have had a pretty good day so far. 

My mom stopped by around lunchtime to help lift Martin for lunch and naptime and so I could go vote. I also supervised her in making gumbo for dinner. She is a good chopper. :) Thanks, Mom!! 

Warren actually takes a pacifier!! Yay. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Another goofy boy joins the family!!!

8:43am this morning. 
7lb 6oz

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lab Answers

This is one of my favorite questions to grade each year. 
List 8 products made of recycled paper.

Some of the answers I received this year:
*steel cans
*plastic bags
*hospital gowns
*paper money
*water bottles
*lamp shades

Things I Don't Do

I was inspired by TheFrugalGirl to list the things I don't do. She has been talking about looking too perfect on blogs and how it can depress other people. Here are the first few things that popped into my head. 

Jared makes much more imaginative toys then I do and I am the engineer. He made a vacuum cleaner for Martin on Saturday. Martin loved it and played with it for about 30 minutes. 
I don't knit. 

I don't crochet. 

I rarely make plans for play dates with other kids even though I know Martin loves them and I enjoy them too. 

I don't fold Martin's clothes. They are just stuffed in a drawer. 

I rarely invite people over for dinner, even though I think about it all the time. I always come up with excuses. Example: my sister has been in town for over 4 months now and I still haven't had her over for dinner. 

I have a bad habit of writing thank you notes and then leave them on the table without stamps for a week or two before I send them. There are three sitting there right now. 

My kitchen table is always a mess. 

I have three bags of clothes that have been riding around in the back of Jared's car for over a year that need to go to Goodwill. 

I was given some maternity clothes about six months ago and they are still sitting in a pile next to my bed. I wear them, wash them, and throw them back in the pile. Is it even worth finding a home for them now? 

I plan to go outside with Martin most days, but we only make it outside 2 or 3 times a week. 

I don't serve vegetables with each meal. 

I broke the coat rack on our entry wall because I was too lazy to hang up coats in the closet and hung too much weight on the wall and it fell off. 

I haven't early voted yet even though I have meant to every day for the last week. I need to do this before the baby comes. 

I take pictures of Martin when he throws fits sometime. 
This is right before dinner. Martin wanted crackers and all I would give him was an apple. He threw himself on the ground and cried.