Monday, June 30, 2014


When I was pregnant with Martin, I caught 3 or 4 colds and they lasted longer than normal colds because I was pregnant. This time around I thought that I might miss out on some of the colds because it would be summer. Well, I have missed out on all colds so far, but in exchange I have had two stomach bugs. I would pick the colds if given the choice. 

I went bed at 730 last night, as soon as I came home from church. I thought I was just really tired. Stomach problems hit a few hours later. I woke up so achy this morning. Thankfully, my parents came and picked up Martin so I could rest. My house is so quiet. I miss him, but I had no energy to watch him. 

They keep sending me updates and photos. I think he is having a great time. So far they have been to the zoo, watered plants in the garden, and read books. What fun! 

Granddad and Martin read the mail. 

Martin reads Granddad a book. 

Martin waits for his grandparents this morning to pick him up. He pulled this old milk jug out of the recycling a few weeks ago and loves to play with it. Who needs toys? 

Thanks to my wonderful parents for watching him. You are the best. Maybe some day I can watch Martin's children for him. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Martin and I have been blueberry picking 4 times. We have picked 25 pounds of blueberries. We ate the first 18 pounds. We are pigs. This is the first thing I have actually made with my blueberries. 

I would normally have put the topping on the crisp right away and baked it, but we took it up to Annapolis to visit my of my good friends. We bought vanilla ice cream at Trader Joes to go on top. It was amazing. 

The original recipe calls for only 4 peaches or apples. I used 10 peaches and about 2-3 cups of blueberries. 

10 peaches + 2-3 cups blueberry
1/2 to 1 stick butter (depends in how buttery you want it)
3/4 c. Brown sugar
Dash salt
1-1/2 c. Flour (I used part whole wheat because I ran out of white)
2 c. Rolled oats
1 T cinnamon

Layer the fruit in a 9"x13" baking dish. 

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. I use a pastry cutter, but the oats make it hard to fully incorporate it. I switch over to my hands partway through. 

Dump topping over fruit. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Aren't these carrots so pretty?

I am so glad I am splitting a csa box because I couldn't eat a small on my own. I made carrot risotto and zucchini bread yesterday. Today I am going to pick up more blueberries and some peaches!!! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I made these for a shower gift. They were super simple. The zipper at the top of each is the only slightly tricky part. One is full size and can hold 20 diapers or so until you can wash them. The smaller one  can hold 3-5 and can be used in your diaper bag while you are out. 

Also, one of  my friends pointed out that you can use this for wet bathing suits or other damp items you wish to take home that you would normally throw in a plastic grocery bag. I might have to make another one for Martin when I start potty training him. 


It has been over a year since I have had my hair cut. I like my hair long, but it has been giving me a headache recently when I wear it up.  The length also drags my curls down. 



My head feels so much lighter. And my hair will hopefully be much curlier... As long as I don't towel dry it like I did this morning. It is so much easier to wash and dry. 

I haven't blogged much because I have been finishing projects around the house, decluttering, and writing letters to my brother, who is at boot camp this summer. Also, someone in my house has been skipping his naps and testing the limits. :) Thankfully, today I wore him out and he is napping right now. Hooray. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My kitchen

I just love everything about my kitchen: the counter space, the windows, the colors, the dishes, and everything else!! For such a small area, it gives me such a great space for cooking. Plus, it helps me cut down on keeping things I don't need (ie who needs fifteen or twenty knives, I have my favorite three). I was in the process of laying out dinner plates for some guests we are having for dinner tonight, but I just had to post a picture because it made me so happy.  This is my favorite room in the house and the reason I cook so much. I love it! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

Along with stuffed shells, yesterday I made granola, peanut butter cookies, and chocolate chip cookies (all for my church's women's retreat this weekend).    I thought, if I was going to have the oven on this week that it might as well be all at once. I froze the cookies. 

I tried a new recipe for peanut butter cookies. Yes, it is from America's Test Kitchen (PS. For my birthday I am getting a cookbook of theirs that has 1000 recipes, so expect to see even more goodness). For once I followed the recipe perfectly and didn't make any changes. Well, maybe I used salted butter and peanuts and cut down the salt I added.  I don't think that should count. 

Makes 3 dozen if you make 2T scoops
Makes 5 dozen if you make 1-1/2T scoops

2-1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 T butter softened
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 c extra crunchy peanut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanuts pulsed in food processor until it looks like bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Which flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. 

3. Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. If your butter is softened on a hot day like yesterday, this step is so quick. Add peanut butter. Beat two minutes. Add eggs. Beat two minutes. Add vanilla. Mix until combined. Add flour mixture until just combined (don't overmix the flour or the cookies will be tough). Stir by hand to make sure everything is mixed together evenly. 

4. Scoop dough on to parchment lined baking sheets. Press each dough ball with a fork dipped in cold water. 

5. Bake 10-14 minutes until cookies are puffy and slightly brown around the edges. They will not look fully baked. Cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Finish cooking on wire rack until completely cool before eating. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Stuffed Shells

He was eating blueberries in this picture. They are his favorite. We have been picking twice so far in 8 days. Both times we came home with two buckets. Oh, and he brought his hat to me and asked me to put it in him. Jared and he have matching sock monkey hats. 
He also ate diaper cream today while I was in the bathroom. Who knew he was tall enough to reach in his changing table drawers? Thankfully, he only ate a bit and hasn't shown any signs of problems.  What a baby. He also learned to climb on furniture this week.  Life is becoming so fun! 

Today I thought, stuffed shells would be really good. I have tried several recipes, but none of them have been my favorite. I tried a version from America's Test Kitchen today (surprise surprise) and loved them!! The fresh basil is definitely a must.  I picked mine from my yard (woohoo, for fresh herbs). Also, I cut the garlic way back because my babies never like garlic. The real recipe calls for 3 cloves and I put in 1/2 a clove. 

Note: I didn't measure everything perfectly, so don't feel like you have to measure exact amounts. I grated about 8 oz of cheese, but it could have been a bit more or less. I had a partial can of diced tomatoes leftover from another recipe and I used that with some water for the sauce.  

Sauce Ingredients
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T fresh basil chopped 

Filling ingredients
1-1/2 pounds (3 cups) ricotta
8 oz (2 cups) mozzarella shredded
4 oz Parmesan (2 cups)
2 large eggs
2 T chopped basil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

30 shells or 16 lasagna noodles cooked
(ATK suggests putting filling on the lasagna noodles and rolling the noodles up - this was originally a recipe for manicotti and they found it was easier than stuffing the tubes)

1. Pulse tomatoes and juice in blender or food processor until smooth (or coarsely chopped if you like bits of tomato - I don't). 
2. Heat olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in pan about a minute. Add tomatoes and a dash of salt. Cook until thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil and salt to taste. 
3. Combine all filling ingredients. 
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1-1/2 cup sauce in bottom of pan. Spread cheese in the shells. Place shells in pan. Pour extra sauce on top. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. 

Note: I sprinkle extra mozzarella over the top, they suggest to sprinkle Parmesan and then broil it at the end to get it nice and melted. 

I don't know why these pictures are blurry when I upload them sometimes.  I have posted the picture of Martin to make up for it. Ha ha. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy birthday, me (in 7 days)!!

I love vintage Pyrex!!  My siblings gave me the multicolored bowls for Christmas a few years ago. They sit in my counter holding my fruit and I also use them to bake with. I bought a flamingo pink pie plate on my honeymoon in Maine. It had faded a bit and it more of a light pink now. Today I found one that has little wear and is very close to the true original color!!  I saw it. Then I walked around downtown Salisbury for an hour thinking about if I really needed a 4th pie plate. 

I decided I do. I am also considering that glass cover pink baking dish in the top right stack.  :). I wish I had a china cabinet to display my pretty vintage Pyrex and my polish pottery.  I sure do love polish pottery too. I have five pieces and my favorite is a square baking/serving dish my sister gave me for my birthday last year. Someday I hope to have a collection of pieces like my Aunt Suzanne does. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Martin is getting a brother. Hooray!!! More building and destroying are in my future. We are going to have so much fun together. :) I hope they are great friends the rest of their life. 

Doodle by Sarah. I will have to save the girl picture for another baby. 

Crepes (Swedish Pancakes) and some random baby thoughts

This is a recipe from Jared's mother. She makes them almost every Christmas. They are so good. We had breakfast for dinner on Tuesday, with the last of the strawberries. 

Today for lunch I filled the two leftover crepes with fresh blueberries and topped them with the last bit of whipped cream.  

Martin and I went blueberry picking yesterday and have been stuffing our faces with blueberries ever since. He might like blueberries as much as i do. They were his first food and I consistently ate them when I was 6-16 weeks pregnant with him. 

I suggest eating these plain, but you can also make crepes and stuff them with plain blueberries or a blueberry sauce or jam. Yum. 

Swedish pancakes (crepes)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup milk

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the milk and egg. Whisk. I find the batter to be too thick and end up adding 1/4-1/2 cup water or milk to thin it out. 

Heat a pan over med/high. Add butter. Swirl pan to coat the whole thing. Add 1/4-1/3 cup batter and swirl pan to evenly coat. Place back on stove. Cook 1-3 minutes on the first side. Flip (you might burn your thumbs doing this, but it is worth it). Cook about 30 seconds in the second side. You want it to have brown spots, but not too crispy or it won't roll. 

Expect the first one to never turn out. You can eat the scraps. :) Also, expect a few others to stick and rip when you flip them. Eat them too (or feed them to your children). 

Makes about ten. I often double or triple this recipe when serving more than Jared and me. 

We even have a Swedish pancake flag in our house. Cindy made this for us for Christmas two years ago. It hangs in Martin's room. 

Funny Swedish story: my mother-in-law was supposed to be named Wendy, but her Swedish grandfather couldn't pronounce it. So they named her Cindy, but he called her Tindy because he couldn't pronounce Cindy either. :) 

I guess I can claim to love Ikea and Swedish things because my husband and children are part Swedish. Ha ha. Wouldn't it be funny if my German and Jared's Swedish genes got together and had a little blond-haired and blue-eyed child? 

We find out the gender of baby Shelton today. I want both a girl and a boy. So I will sad and excited either way. I really want Martin to have a brother, but I want to have a girl so I can braid her hair and make her clothes. Three hours until we find out. God knows exactly what we need and I can trust Him. Isn't that great to know? What a comfort. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

No nap

This is what happens when the baby doesn't take a nap. 

Martin rarely falls asleep in the car, but on the way home from church last night he did. He didn't even wake up when we took him out of his seat and carried him into the house. He woke up briefly when Jared changed him into his pajamas.  He looked up, as if to say, "where am I? Who are you?" As soon as he was in his crib he fell back to sleep. I love him. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Wedding Cake

Happy fifth anniversary, Jared... In one month and one day. It has been an amazing five years. 
Photo by my friend Becca from college

Sunday I made my wedding cake recipe. I ran short of cream and so the icing was a simple cream cheese frosting instead of having the whipped cream folded into it, but it was still good. 

Toppings of butterfingers and peanuts

The ganoche was a bit on the soft side. Our wedding cake had a more fudgy consistency, but this was still good. I will have to okay with it to find out what I did wrong. 

Copy of recipe of my wedding cake from Jared's mother. :) We also served peach cobbler (Jared's favorite) and brownies (for the kids). 

Cake Ingredients
10 T butter
1/2 c. Peanut butter
2 c. Brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 c. Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. Buttermilk

Icing ingredients
12 oz. cream cheese
6 T butter 
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. Powdered sugar, divided
3/4 c. Heavy whipping cream
2 butterfingers
1/3 c. Chopped honey roasted peanuts or regular peanuts

Ganoche ingredients
2-1/4 c. Heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. Brown sugar
12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chopped chocolate
1/2 c. Peanut butter

Hint: make the ganoche first so it has time to cook down and set while the cake is cooking and cooling. 

For ganoche filling: bring cream and sugar to boil.  Boil 1-2 minutes until sugar is disolved. Pour over chocolate and peanut butter. Chill until mixture achieve a spreadable consistency. 

For cakes: Grease and flour three 9" round pans. 

Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Combine  dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture alternatively with buttermilk. 

Pour into pans and bake at 350' for 17-20 minutes (I pulled mine out at 24 minutes because I was afraid of burning them and they ended up being a bit undercooked - I think my oven is cooler than most). Cool for 10 minutes and remove to wire rack. 

For icing: beat cream cheese and butter until blended. Add vanilla. Beat in 1-1/4 c. Powdered sugar until light and fluffy. In seperate bowl beat cream and remaining powdered sugar until stuff peaks form. Fold into cream cheese mixture. 

For cake assembly: if cakes are uneven, take a break knife and slice off some of the top (if pieces if cake stuck to your pan, you can use these extra pieces to fill in any holes, trust me, it works great and in makes the surfaces of the cakes smoother). Spread chocolate filling between cake layers (I put mine on top too). Frost top and sides. Sprinkle with crushed butterfingers and chopped peanuts. 


Photo by my Dad (it is one of my favorites.  I love that we are all laughing). 

Photo credit Anna. I have this blown up in color on a canvas in my sewing room. I loved my wedding do much. It was a giant party/picnic in my backyard. I loved that everyone came casually dressed and  could relax and play games out in the field. We had ladder ball, volleyball, soccer, corn hole, and an obstacle bounce house for the kids (and adults). We also had a candy table, which I never even saw. I love my reception. I was able to visit with people that had travelled to my wedding and relax.  It was wonderful. Thank you to everyone that made it special. 

Photo by Anna. This was our first dance. We came down the back porch stairs, danced our first dance, and then ate food!!! We had pulled pork, ham, sweet potato biscuits, fried chicken, etc. It was AMAZING!!! 

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Photos and a Project

This post was supposed to upload Thursday. The blogger app fails to post sometime. Since it didn't load, I will give you an update on the csa foods. We had chicken fajita salads two night, I sautéed the turnips in brown butter and brown sugar, and have made two spinach smoothies so far. I haven't used the kale or the escarole. I am probably going to trying baking them in a casserole topped with bread crumbs and cheese. :)

Wednesday is CSA day (or Thursday could be if we were busy on Wednesday). It looks like we will be eating a lot of lettuce, kale, and spinach (not included in picture). 
I tried to grill my turnips last week, but I burnt them. We will see what happens this week. 

We went over to my parents house for dinner on Wednesday and for homemade strawberry ice cream. I made strawberry pretzel salad with double the strawberries. I will type the recipe in later. But I posted a picture of the recipe. 

 As you can see, I don't follow recipes perfectly. I make lots of modifications. I cut down the water because when you pour hot water on strawberries it causes them to release juice and then the jello doesn't set properly. I also like less sugar and butter and more pretzels in the crust. 

Homemade strawberry ice cream in homemade waffle comes. I don't like hot weather, but if it brings fresh fruit and homemade ice cream, it is bearable. 

And I made a tote bag to carry produce in for my friend that is splitting my csa box with me. It is color blocked pink and blue. 
And has a reversible lining for the fall (since our csa runs through December). 
I thought the bag looked a little boring. So I screenprinted her name on it. 
BUT I made a juvenile error and forgot to put cardboard in the middle and the ink bleed through the bag. Agr. So, I gave it to her anyway, but I was so mad at myself for doing something so silly. Oh well. It can still hold produce. 

Have you been working on anything lately? I have been working on two maternity shirts. I will post pictures if I ever get them to a stage I like. I think at least one of them will make it into my closet. 

Cloth diapers

This could also be titled, Why I am okay that my diapers don't look perfect anymore. 

For the first year of Martin's life my diapers always looked perfect. They could have been an ad for BumGenius at anytime. 

Then one day he found out that they were fun to play with and the neatness was over. The first few times he pulled them all out, I folded them all back in placed and stacked them in piles. 

Now this, see picture, is almost a daily occurrence. After my shower this morning, I found him in his room, laughing, as he pulled out his diapers and shook them around like flags. Today he took great pleasure also in piling the diapers on me, as I lay on the floor and tried to read to him. He laughed and laughed. He also had found his diaper pail (it is hiding behind that open cupboard door in the picture) and he puts clean diapers in with the dirty ones. If all of that wasn't enough, he knows that the reusable liners go in the pail. So, whenever I take one liner out to go wash it, he puts the new liner in the pail before I come back to his room. The only problem is he can't get the elastic around the top. Oh well. I keep explaining how to stuff the diapers so that one day, hopefully, he can pitch in and help me stuff them for future siblings. 

But all of this is fine with me. I don't care that his diapers are all over the floor and that I have to pick them up several times a day. It means that he doesn't need entertaining and that he is using his imagination to do something. I feel the same way when he plays with pots and pans in the kitchen or pulls cans and bottles out of a cupboard. I love when he plays with an empty spice container and learns how to take the lid off and on. I am happy that he explores and figures things out, even if it means little messes that we clean up together all day long. I would much rather let him have adventures then give him an iPad.  He doesn't need that right now. There will come a time when that will be useful, but not now. 

It is more work for me, but I love that he loves learning. I hope to spend the rest of my life fostering a sense of lifelong learning and adventure. I don't want to ever be annoyed at his constant questions. I want to encourage them. We will see how this goes, but so far, pull out the diapers and help me put away the dishwasher and your clothes. It will take thrice as long, but I love it. Keep exploring Martin!! I love you and your busy self. 

Ps. Bring on the crayons and paint.  Ha ha ha. I think I will keep the play dough hidden for a while longer. I am not ready for that yet. 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Pretty Things

I am going to make these baskets for the kid's playroom. I have more heavy ikea fabric that matches the pillows I made a few weeks ago. 

I don't know if I love these because they are pretty or because they are polka dots. :) my crib sheets are holding up well. I bought four on the clearance rack at target and have only ever used two of them. However, if they ever do need to be replaced, here is a great tutorial. Or maybe I will make these as baby shower gifts. I have some old vintage sheets that I want to turn into sweet baby girl crib sheets.

I love the remake of these folding chairs.  If I ever see old folding chairs at a yardsale or goodwill, I will do this.

If I am having a girl (we find out in 11 days), this is on my list of dresses to make. I would sew up the back though.

If it is a boy... How adorable is this? I will have to turn some of Martin's old onsies into these.  I love them.

I want to try to make this dress.

And this coat:

And I have been wanting to make Martin a vest. Maybe I will use this pattern.