Friday, March 28, 2014

Photo Friday

We took some selfies this afternoon right before naptime.  Martin usually comes up and lays his head on me or the floor a couple times in a row. That is how I know it is naptime. He plays in his crib with some toys for 15-30 minutes and then falls asleep. 

He is such a ham. 

And I love being his Mom.  He is such a sweet, great kid...

Even when he tried to eat the window blinds.  It looks like I caught a fish.  What a weirdo. I discourage chewing on the blinds, but this looked so funny that I had to take a picture.  

I am about to pack the Mr. Baby bib up in the attic with most of his 12 month cloths.  He is wearing 2T in most of his shirts now! Ah! 

This last picture is from this morning. He loves to pull things out of the cubboards.   His new favorite is this container of beef bouillon cubes.   He opens them up and dumps them out and then puts them back in.  He played with them for at least twenty minutes today while I made dinner.  Who needs toys? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More Snow, Chicken Pot Pie, Groceries, and Bagels

This didn't upload yesterday. So I added a two pictures this morning of after the snow of my front and back yards. 

My backyard. 

It is snowing again today.  Why is it snowing?  I hope my daffodils are okay.  They haven't flowered yet.  Some of the creeping phlox have bloomed. This is one of my favorites because the whole thing turns purple for a week or two.  So pretty. The snow just started sticking. Poor little flower. It will soon be covered. 

Martin and I ran to the grocery store early this morning to avoid the crowds of milk and bread buying crazy people.  Beef was on sale. I bought a bunch to chop up and freeze for future beef stews.  We should have gone to Bible study this morning, but I was concerned Martin might have what Jared and I had and kept him home.  He is acting perfectly happy and normal, but his diapers have been smelling really strange. 

After we came home, I made chicken pot pie for dinner tomorrow while Martin fed himself. He has started using his fork and spoon pretty well (well enough to get food in his mouth).  It is wonderful. He makes a mess, but he is 75% self fed. From the pie dough scraps I made pigs-in-a-blanket for lunch (I have never made them before.  They are so easy). 

I also made a batch of whole wheat bagels.  I made half of it plain and half cinnamon raisin.  If I really like them I will post a link to the recipe later.  I was thinking of making bagel pizzas out of some of the plain ones.  We will see. 

Tonight we are going to celebrate my baby sister's birthday with my favorite Ruby Tuesday's smokehouse burger (bacon, cheddar cheese, onion rings, and barbque sauce) and cake batter ice cream cake. She has good taste. Happy Birthday, Hope.  Martin is especially thankful for you. You make him laugh and it is so much fun to watch. 

The burger is a running joke in my house because I ate it while I was going into labor with Martin. I ate the whole thing plus green beans and fries.  I had wanted a burger so badly all day and Jared had to work late that night and we didn't get to the restaurant until 7:30. I thought something weird was going on, but I had just seen the doctor that afternoon and she said I was definitely not in labor.  Ha ha ha. They admitted me to labor and delivery at 8:59 pm and Martin was born at 7:30am.  Jared laughs because I had to keep pausing from eating during the contractions.  He started looking at me and asking, "Are you alright? Is this a contraction? Can you talk?" They started off 8-10 minutes apart (and pretty minor), but by the time my burger was gone they were closer to five minutes and coming like clockwork and I could definitely not talk during them. I am so glad Martin is here and no longer a little alien inside me.  I know my mother and many other women love the feeling of a baby moving inside them, but I found the whole thing really really creepy.  

Here is to Hope and good food and babies, who as one of my friends puts it, "are better out than in." Happy birthday, little sister.  Have a great 18th year.  I love you. My baby is awake and I have to feed him and bathe him before your party.  :) 

Front yard.  Too bad the Christmas lights still aren't up. Our house looks like a little gingerbread house when it snows.  I love it.  Random fact: the light post out front has never worked. We have tried all the light switches in the house.  


This weekend I went to the MNA mercy conference in College Park.  The night before I tossed and turned all night; I was up at least five times.  I kept thinking, I can't do this.  I can't go. I have been sick all week and now I am not sleeping. So I prayed at 430, that when I woke up with my alarm that I would feel awake and that I would get a close parking spot (I know, so selfish, but I felt so weak).  My alarm rang at 5:11am and I was able to get up and I was at the conference on time, I got the last close parking spot, I stayed awake for all the workshops and speakers, and I was able to stay until the last speaker finished at 9:00pm. It was a huge blessing to go and hear about all the ministries in the church and to be inspired. It was also encouraging to be able to worship with 400-500 people from various churches.  

I slept like a rock on Friday night and made it through the Saturday sessions as well. On the way back home I stopped at the ghetto chipotle, the best chipotle ever and bought a burrito. 

It was huge and bursting at the seams.  When I buy them in Salisbury the staff always makes me feel guilty for asking for two kinds of salsa (tomatoes and corn) and the burritos are so small and they are grumpy and slow. Although this burrito is an smaller size for ones I got in college, most were much bigger (we, my friends in engineering and I, had a contest to see who could get the biggest burritos, if they had to get a second foil wrap because one didn't cover the whole burrito, you had bragging rights.  The lady grabbed a third foil wrap by mistake once and I bragged about having a burrito so big that I needed three foil wraps), it was so much better tasting than the Salisbury ones.  I plan to measure and plot the burrito sizes of all future purchases. :) I am such a nerd. This one was 10-3/4 inches around and 7-1/2 inches long. 

This is one of the sketchiest places (well, there are a lot of sketchy places in the DC area).  I was followed around the grocery store, that is right next to this store, and asked out by some creepy, foreign dude for his friend, who stood down the grocery aisle and waved to me.  So creepy.  Needless to say, I never shopped their for groceries again. But they make the best burritos.  

Oh, and I saw this on my drive in to the conference on Saturday morning.  There is something about DC that fills me with national pride.  You can see the Capitol and Washington monument off in the way distance. This is New Hampshire avenue.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Life Recently

Martin discovered the front camera and it makes him laugh at himself. He is such a ham. 

We (Jared and I) have been eating a lot of these and drinking this. We both woke up Sunday morning with some sort of vicious stomach bug.  

Jared was eating food by the evening, thankfully.  I threw up nine times or every time I tried to drink something.  It was pretty rough. I lay on the floor and cried a lot. Monday morning I kept my first crackers and juice down. I even had a half of a chipotle burrito for dinner.  Jared was especially sweet and washed dishes and clothes and made me food. I pretty much lay in one place all day, which is what I plan on doing today too (other than chasing Martin if he does something mischievous).   

My parents took Martin for most of the day yesterday and Sunday night so I could get more rest.  My mom also made me chicken noodle soup.  My parents sent me updates. 

Martin loves spending time with them. Look at that messy hair. 

I am sorry there are no recipe or sewing updates.  They are more interesting, but I thought I should blog something.  It had been a while. I hope you all are well. Oh, I forgot to mention, we got six more inches if snow Sunday night and Monday.  It was so pretty.  I love snow.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy Pi Day Yesterday

A pie for pi day! I took this to a party we went to on Friday evening.  It is a giant cookie, but it is made in a pie dish, so it sort of counts.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Random update

Really? Two days of warm weather and then more oscillating temperatures. It seems this end of winter has been particularly vacillating (I wanted to use the word dither here because I think it is fun to say, but it didn't quite fit).  Thrice is another one of those words which is fun to say. RC Sproul says, "thrice holy God."

I enjoyed having my windows open today and will open them again tomorrow.  Thank goodness for some glimpse of spring. My perfect temperature is right around sixty degrees. I don't like it much warmer then that.  On Thursday, I will dig my coat and boots out (which I just put away) and maybe cuddle under my new quilt that I am about to finish tonight.  Pictures are coming soon.  I have really grown to like his quilt and the binding is just taking it to another level.  I Love love it. 

A random picture of Martin asleep clutching a toy car.  As you can see I put whatever socks on him that I first grab. :) Life is too short to search for socks. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

String Lanterns

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been helping with a wedding of a close family friend. The bride had mentioned that she really liked string lanterns as decorations and I thought that I could throw some together pretty fast. Ha ha. Two cups of corn starch, four bottles of Elmer's glue, several packs of balloons, and a pound of cotton string later, I realized it might not be as easy as I first thought, as often is with these crafty projects I get myself into. However, being a lover of paper mâché since I was a small child led me to endure and turn out quite a collection of string lanterns (17 large ones and 45 small ones). I made about nine at a time over a period of two weeks. You are right, the math doesn't add up. I took days off during the two weeks. :) 

As a scientist, I must interject here a exclamation of how amazing the properties of corn starch are. If you are in doubt simply mix a bit with a little bit of water and scrunch it with your hands. You will see that corn starch has both the properties of a liquid and a solid.  I love playing with it. 

I have included some pictures of my lanterns drying in my laundry room. You will see that Mr. B's diapers are also drying in the background (I suppose is should clear up any misconceptions about that statement and explain that Mr. B is my one year old baby. My husband gave him that nickname when he was ten days old and somehow it has stuck). I have also included pictures of them (lanterns not diapers) hanging at the wedding. 

Some tricks I learned was to dip my hands in the glue and corn starch mixture, not the string. If you dip the string it goes on to thick and takes longer to dry. If you are storing them for a while before using them, leave the balloons unpopped and it is easier to transport them. About two arm lengths do string is perfect for a small water balloon. Cut the string before you start for the small balloons. I found placing the container of glue in the sink helped to cut down on the mess. On the larger balloons it helps to pull the string from the ground if it is on a spool. 

Have you ever tried to make these? If so, have you tried to spray paint these different colors? I would have, but I ran out of time.  I rather like them white too.  

Aunt Suzanne put these flowers together and I thought they were lovely. 

My husband decorated most of the house and I thought it was beautiful too. You can see some string lanterns hanging from the lights. 

Lastly, a picture of my little family. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

Photo Friday

I will just post a few pictures on this rainy day. 
I finished one of Jared's runners. I sewed the binding on last night while he was at class. We both aren't a huge fan of the colors of this runner, but overall I think it turned out pretty well. 

Today I made blueberry almond muffins for a friend that just had a baby. The blueberries are frozen from last summer. Yum.  

And I kept some for me... 

When I cook, I always take me eggs out in a pattern. It makes me happy when they are in some sort of order. I might rearrange them sometimes if Jared takes them from the wrong place. I know, I am weird. 

Martin was helping me put my quilt layers together yesterday. I have quilted all of it but the boarder. 

Here is a close up of some of the quilting. I have been practicing different quilting designs and I like the way it looks, but it takes five times longer. I just noticed my quilting gloves in the corner if this picture - they are really dirty and need to be washed. 

Here is what the back looks like. I can't make plain backing anymore. I just can't do it.  I made a pieced backing for one of my quilts and now I am stuck designing a front and back to my quilts. 

While I am in the bathroom getting ready in the morning I put the gate on Martin's door so he doesn't get into trouble. He plays quietly with his toys while I am in the shower. Once he hears that I am out if the shower he starts to pull on the gate and talk to me. So I peak my head out the door and he makes this face at me. Then I duck my head back in and pop out again.  He thinks it is a great game. 

Enjoy your rainy Friday!!  Are you working on any fun projects? Cindy gave me a new magazine to flip through yesterday and now I am dreaming up all sorts of ideas. 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Sweet Baby Martin

I love being a mom.  It is the greatest job that I have ever done. All my engineering and efficiency training applies pretty well to this job. :) I look forward to building awesome structures and buildings and car ramps with Martin someday. But for now, I am just going to enjoy holding him. This doesn't happen very often (see precious post). I love you, my big headed baby son.  

Project update

Yesterday, while Martin napped I quilted three of my runners. I now have five runners that need the binding sewn on, which makes me very happy because that is my favorite part. I can watch Martin play while hand sewing them and since they have no intended receiver yet, I can take my time. I was going to start quilting my quilt today, however Martin woke up with a fever of 103 degrees F. 

He had his one-year vaccinations last week and the doctor said one in four usually get a high fever for one or two days, a week after the shots. He was a little whiney this morning, but otherwise acting normal. He wanted to be held a bit more than normal.  I picked him up and started rocking him about five minutes ago and now he asleep. I can't complain since he almost never falls asleep on me. What a sweet cuddly baby. He also woke up at midnight last night and I got to rock him for a while. I am thankful for those times since he is not normally a cuddler. I love when he actually wants to be held and when he falls asleep in my arms. 

 Here are my three runners. I hadn't trimmed the middle one when I took this picture.  The two blue ones are made from scraps from the wedding flags I made a few weeks ago. I practiced different styles of quilting on them , which you can see if you zoom in.  I like the feathers in the far right one. I am going to bind all of them in a blue. I will post pictures when they are finished. 

Are you working on any projects? As I mentioned I have a long cleaning  list that I have been slowly working through. I like lists. I should have posted pictures of my lists during college. It is rewarding to check things off.  
Are there any other artistic talents you would like to have? I would love to be able to paint like my sister Sarah or take pictures like my other sister Anna or draw like my brother or dance like my baby sister Hope. Maybe someday I will practice one of those things. Right now I am just enjoying holding my sleeping baby and dreaming up some new quilt designs. 

Monday, March 03, 2014

Blogs >> Facebook

I was reading through some of my old posts and I am so glad that I blogged a lot of the stuff that I did. I am also glad that my friends and family all provided comments for my blogs. This blog I have linked below is a discussion on my childhood and some of the crazy things we did. It made me smile and laugh out loud.

Best post of all time

Prince Edward Island Fashion. Don't I have the best haircut ever? I had a giant ponytail of hair down my back that was just as poofy as the top. 

I also wanted to mention a few other memories before I forget them. I might explain these in more details later.
English country dancing (especially the 4th of July party)
Williamsburg (especially the shunned homeschool trip and the bachelor pad)
Chalk lines on the bed (how did Sarah always get her own bed and Hayley and I had to share?)
Phantom of the Opera
midnight snacks
The car track and our car races (remember junky car who never made it down the track?)
The prince of Egypt soundtrack
3-D puzzles
Anne of Green Gables (that Sarah and I had to watch alone with Uncle Bill because Hayley went to bed)
The women's gymnastic team winning gold (we got to stay up late to watch the finals)
2468 girls girls girls
Watching that scary movie with Hayley, Greg, and Uncle Bill We were all on the same futon by the end huddled together.
Doll Awana
Camping at Niagra (what a beautiful Canadian basket, the speed walker)
The camping trip to Maine and PEI. Lobster claws and Green Gables.
Williamsburg another time, I forgot my coat and it was thirty degrees outside
Williamsburg again, for our birthdays (even though they were in november, march, and June we still celebrated them together with our moms, what a great trip)
Raking rocks under the porch
Aunt Suzanne used to give us fake checks and her old purses and make us pay for our dinner. I remember that in the old kitchen before the addition.

Thanks for all the great memories!! 

Louisiana Beef Stew

It was supposed to snow 4-9 inches today. I love snow. I have had the curtains open all day watching the snowflakes fall. What a perfect day for a cozy, warm bowl of stew or soup. I buy beef when it is on sale and I chop it up into cubes and freeze them in bags that are portioned for one batch of beef stew. I just had to run quickly to the store this morning, around seven, before it was snowing a lot, and pick up a green pepper. 

I decided to make a beef stew from  my best friend's husband, who is from New Orleans. When we went visit them he made this for dinner one night. Jared and I both like it better than regular gravy based beef stew.  We serve this over mashed potatoes or rice. I love this recipe because you throw it in the crockpot and four to six hours later dinner is ready.  So easy. 

Today I have also spent putting the finishing steps on a few runner tops and a quilt back. In a bit, i am going to pin them all together and maybe even start quilting them. 

Sneak peak of some of the projects I am trying to finish up. More pictures to come once I finish them. 

Beef stew (in crockpot) 
1 pack brown gravy
3 beef bouillon cubes
6 c. Water
1/2 lb. beef stew browned in creole seasonings
1 onion
1/2 green pepper
3-5 carrots
2 c. Green beans

Roll meat in creole seasoning. Brown meat in vegetable oil. Transfer meat to crockpot with all other ingredients.  Cook four to six hours on medium or high heat. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice. 

Did you do anything fun this snow day? I had planned on cleaning off my pantry shelves, but I saved that for another day. It felt like a sewing and cooking kind of day. :) 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

I watched an episode of America's Test Kitchen that featured these cookies a few weeks ago. I have really been wanting to try them, but just had so many other things to do. I finally made them yesterday to take to a friends house. They invited us over spur of the moment (which makes me happy that they feel like they can just call us and invite us over whenever). My Dad talks about when he was little how people would just stop in for dinner or coffee.  I love that. I wish I could invite people to stop by anytime and sit on my from porch and eat these cookies with a tall glass of milk.  Alas, I have no front porch... Maybe someday.  But you can stop in for tea and coffee and probably some sort of bread or cookies. 

Anyhow, I love these cookies.  They would be even more amazing dipped in chocolate! Ha ha.  Peanut butter chocolate is maybe my favorite flavor combination. It is probably tied with mini chocolate chip. I made mine much bigger than the recipe calls for, but they still turned out well. 

ATK Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 48 cookies (24 sandwiches)

1-1/4 c. Peanuts toasted, cooled, ground

3/4 c. Flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

1/2c peanut butter
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Brown sugar
3 T. Melted butter
3 T. Milk
1 egg

3/4 c. Peanu butter
3 T. Butter
1 c. Powdered sugar

1. Roast peanuts in oven for 8 - 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool. Grind to corse crumbs in food processed or blender. 
2. Whisk dry ingredients together : flour, salt, baking soda. 
3. Mix wet ingredients together: peanut butter, sugars, butter, milk, and egg. 
4. Add dry to wet. Fold in peanuts. 
5. Scoop out 1 T. Of dough onto tray. Press into 2 inch rounds with wet fingers. 
6. Bake 15-18 minutes to golden and crunchy. Since these are sandwich cookies they need to be more firm than regular cookies. 
7. While they are baking melt the peanut butter and butter in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Whisk in the powdered sugar. 
8. Once cookies are cool, scoop about a tablespoon of the icing on one cookie and top it with another cookie. Pres down gently.  I found twisting it back and forth worked well to even out the icing in the middle. 
9. Set aside for an hour. Enjoy. I thought these were better the second day. 

I also made our favorite oatmeal cinnamon raisin bread. I took a picture and will add it to the recipe.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

My two favorite people

Does life get much better than this?

I love them both so much!!

Two New Recipes

I tried two new recipes this morning, Green Chili Cheeseburgers and Swabian Pockets. I have included a picture of the Swabian pockets drying on a cookie sheet. After they dry for two hours, I have to boil them and then serve them in chicken broth(if they turn out, I might bring them to church for the Sundsy dinner). They are from my German cookbook. They are stuffed with chicken, spinach, bread, onion, and egg. If either recipe is good, I will post the recipe later. 

This dough was kneaded by hand for 10-15 minutes. It was quite a workout.  I often marvel at the way people used to cook on the past. We have it so easy: dishwashers, mixers, blenders, ovens, etc. 
Have you tried any new recipes lately?