Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cookie Time

We hosted a cookie decorating party for the kids this past Sunday. They all seemed to enjoy it and it wasn't as messy as I thought it would/could be. Just wanted to share some pictures:

Also Madelynn has a new pass time - pretending to talk on the phone. She's all talk until there's someone on the other end!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mommy and Daddy's Little Helper

Boy does time fly by! I didn't mean for it to be over a month between posts but here we are just a couple weeks from Christmas.
There's a back story to the following photos. Every year my extended family gets together around Thanksgiving to visit and eat (our favorite hobby). Well since Thanksgiving is in the middle of hunting season Chris was out hunting that morning. I had to make deviled eggs, so I closed Madelynn in the kitchen with me a put a step stool next to me at the kitchen counter. I really didn't expect her to stay with me but for a minute before she was off and into something else. Well she stood there and "helped" me make the eggs and this was her reward!

I'll be adding the pictures to go with this later but she decided that Daddy needed some help while he was working on the car. Boy look at those dirty hands!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wedding and Beach

There must be something in the air this year, we were off to another wedding on the beach this past weekend. Luckily the weather was wonderful, sunny and 80. This time we didn't have to go as far as Florida, just to Nags Head. It was great to have a day with nothing to do but hang out with each other and we had a lot of fun walking down the beach after breakfast and a nap.

The water was a little cold but other than that it was perfect.

Our footprints.

Madelynn and Daddy

Not to sure about the Conch shell we found.

The foxes outside the hotel.

The wedding was gorgeous and we wish Candayce and Michael a long and happy life together.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Patten!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Well sort of, we didn't actually participate in Halloween this year but did the party at school instead. More on why later.
Madelynn was Squirt from Finding Nemo - thanks to Aunt Holly and Uncle Guy for letting us borrow a costume! Her class when "trick or treating" from classroom to classroom and then back for a party with lots of good treats!
Trick or Treating at another classroom.
Yummy oranges! (She got the same amount of food and everyone else but ate it that much faster!)
Her whole class.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

When did Halloween become this huge holiday? I don't remember it being that big of a deal when I was growing up. Now it's almost as big as Christmas as far as decorations go. One thing that hasn't changed is the pumpkin patch - well not the concept.

We took Madelynn to the pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin even though we won't be here for Halloween this year. I'm thinking a hayride out to the patch pick a pumpkin and ride back. Well we did that plus they had goats to pet, ponies to ride, a barrel train, blow-up slide, corn maze, face painting and a moon bounce. Wow that's a lot of stuff to do, especially at a "farm"!

Madelynn did the pony ride wasn't scared at all, she even was being a daredevil by not wanting to hold on.

After that we went to pet the goats - they were another story. She didn't like them at all. We got back on the hayride and finally got to the actual pumpkins.

Daddy kept telling her that we were going to get a small pumpkin but we let her go choose for herself. Who would have thought that a 14 month old could be so choosy? She went to about the middle of the patch and then looked a two before deciding on a third! She inspected them really well too.

Mommy it's dirty!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Whole Bunch of Nothing

There hasn't been anything extremely exciting to write about lately so I'm just going to show off some of Madelynn's cuteness.

Well I guess that's not true, there are two new babies in the midst...Our friends Katy and David welcomed a little girl into the world September 30th; and our friends Chris and Tammy welcomed a little boy on October 8th. Congratulations to both families! We are so excited for you.

Now on to the cuteness!

I think this is how Mommy and Daddy use this thing - I think Mommy calls it a fork.

I think my hands work better. Nothing like a T-Bone for a teether!

I'm not getting into anything! Besides Daddy can't get upset since I'm wearing my Redskins jersey and I'm too cute to get into trouble.

Passed out in the car - like my new car seat that Daddy picked out for me, I sleep like him too!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday 10/12 Bathooms, Diapers, Laundry, Make Pita Bread
Grilled Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday 10/13 Bible Study, change sheets
Eggs, toast
Chili and grilled cheese

Wednesday 10/14 Vacuum
Eggs, Toast
Tuna Casserole, Peas

Thursday 10/15 Open House 6-8
Eggs, Toast, Fruit
Leftover Night

Friday 10/16 Open House 6-9
Eggs, Toast
Dinner at Brock’s

Saturday 10/17 Open House 11-2
Pancakes, Fried Apples
Roast Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans

Sunday 10/18 Laundry, Costco, Make Bread
Shrimp and Grits, Salad

Monday 10/19 Vacuum, bathrooms
Eggs, Toast
Deer Stroganoff

Snacks for week:
Pomegranate Seeds

Friday, October 9, 2009


It's not a good word to hear, especially when they're talking about your child, your 13 month old to be exact. That's what we heard though,
She needs tubes
Isn't there something else?
What if we don't get them?
There could be speech development delays and possible antibiotic resistance from continual use
Oh well that's not good either.
So here's some information and the number to schedule the surgery.
Us thinking - umm that's it, that was really quick to decide that our 13 MONTH OLD has to be put to sleep and cut!
Fast forward to yesterday.
This will only take 10 minutes, there aren't any needles involved, she'll take a few deep breaths and go to sleep, the Dr. will do his thing and then she'll wake up. Oh by the way she's not going to be happy when she wakes up. No pain but she won't know what's going on so she's going to be really upset until she takes a nap. Then she'll be fine.
That last part was an understatement, just like when Dr.'s say 'this will only hurt a little'. Yeah right.
She was beyond upset, she screamed the whole way home, didn't open her eyes and was poking at her ears. Some ibuprofen and nursing and off to sleep she went (after a 20 minute ride home). However she was not back to normal when she woke up. She was a grouch the rest of the day! I guess that's to be expected after starving her overnight and then making her feel drunk from the anesthesia.
So she went back to school this morning and seems like everything's fine. She even told me bye before I had closed the car door.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

If this looks like I planned the same thing two weeks in a row you're very close to correct. I don't know how we got so far off track last week but since we still have all of the ingredients to make last weeks menu I've decided to try again. The only thing that did get made was the sloppy joes. I'll post later this week the recipe for Chicken and Dumplings in the slow cooker.

Even though we didn't follow the menu this past week we didn't throw away food either. Any leftovers that we had were used either for lunches or for dinner.

Monday 10/5
Tacos, Beans and Rice

Tuesday 10/6
Eggs, toast
Taco Salads
Chicken and Dumplings in the crock pot

Wednesday 10/7
Eggs, Toast
Grilled Mahi Mahi, Rice, Green Beans

Thursday 10/8
Eggs, Toast, Fruit
Leftover Night

Friday 10/9
Eggs, Toast
Date Night, Madelynn will have leftovers

Saturday 10/10
Sausage, Fried Apples, Toast
London Broil, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli

Sunday 10/11
Shrimp and Grits, Salad

Monday 10/12
Eggs, Toast
French dip sandwiches (using leftover London broil)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

When Satan Attacks

When satan attacks he does so in a way that affects the things you hold most dear. I'm currently doing a bible study entitled "When Godly People do Ungodly Things" by Beth Moore, its topic is seduction and the spiritual warfare behind it. I went into the study knowing that I would likely be opening myself up to being attacked due to the issues and fears that the study would have me deal with. What I wasn't expecting was it to affect areas that weren't in my past.
One of the most resounding thoughts that I have come across so far is that in order for satan to attack us he must seek God's permission. Now, this is something that I have always believed, that God allows things to happen to us to either teach us something or draw us closer to Him. So in working through this current attack not only am I left to fight the temptation and seduction but to struggle to figure out the purpose behind it. What is it that I'm supposed to learn or how am I supposed to grow from this hardship?
One of the biggest mysteries and excitements in life is trying to figure out God's plan for our life. That is my constant struggle as a 'planner' know that God already has a plan for me to follow, not one that I know the end to and can 'plan' out on a timeline but one that will be revealed to me as I continue to follow and listen to Him. It's a difficult and trying and rewarding path to follow. I often stray from it and begin relying on myself to sustain and 'make it' on my own. I am very quickly humbled and brought back to trusting in His divine knowledge and power. Just call me Peter in my wavering faith!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Favorite Things

I thought I would share a little about myself using one of those dreaded chain emails!

20 Of My Favorite Things
1. Color-Blue
2. Dessert-Cookies
3. Smell-Vanilla
4. Flower-Calla Lily but really any flower will do.
5. Animal-Cat
6. Month-May
7. Beverage- Sweet Tea
8. Pair of shoes-none - Bass Sandals
9. Snack-Cheese
10. Song-I don't think I have one absolute favorite.
11. Book-Harry Potter or Dan Brown
12. Fruit-Strawberry
13. Hairstyle-Depends on the day, usually up somehow.
14. Piece of clothing-Jeans
15. Store to clothes shop-Target or J. Crew
16. Season - Fall
17. Hobby-Reading or cooking
18. Thing to collect- Depression glass but I don't have room for any
19. Movie-Dirty Dancing or Steel Magnolias
20. Restaurant-Bonefish Grill

Menu Plan Monday

This is my first time posting for our weekly menu plan. We go through next Monday since I do our menus on Monday's, this way no day is left out. Thanks to I'm an Organizing Junkie for hosting MPM. For other wonderful meal plans check out http://orgjunkie.com/

Monday 9/28 Make bread
Sloppy Joes, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad

Tuesday 9/29
Eggs, toast
Chicken and Dumplings in the crock pot

Wednesday 9/30
Eggs, Toast
Shrimp and grits, Green Beans

Thursday 10/1
Eggs, Toast, Fruit
Leftover Night

Friday 10/2

Eggs, Toast
Dinner at Brock's

Saturday 10/3 Make and can applesauce, dried apples, deer jerky
Sausage, Fried Apples, Toast
London Broil, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli

Sunday 10/4

Monday 10/5 Make bread
Eggs, Toast
Grilled Mahi Mahi, Green Beans, Corn

Snacks for week:
Apple & PB
Celery & PB

Next week I'll post the recipe of our favorite meal. Enjoy your week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Apple Picking

We went apple picking with a group of friends this past weekend and enjoyed seeing everyone as well as the beautiful weather. We could not have asked for a more perfect day to be outside in the mountains.

Madelynn did not really "pick" apples
but she really enjoyed eating them!

Chris and I had fun too (he did all the picking for us). I’m hoping this will become a fall family tradition.

As for what to do with the 30 pounds of apples we brought home? I have already made an apple pie that tastes alright but is about as ugly as a pie can get. If you have any suggestions for a recipe I would appreciate it since I can’t seem to make a apple pie to save my life. We have been eating apples for snack and I’m planning on making and canning applesauce in the next week or so. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What are some of your favorite fall traditions?

Bread Making

In my process to becoming the unexpected hippie I have been trying to make as much food from scratch as possible while working full time. This became necessary when we thought that the possibility of Madelynn having a dairy sensitivity was causing some of her sleep and ear issues. After reading many food labels I realized that the food industry has managed to sneak dairy or a dairy derivative into almost all processed foods. To start my fight against processed foods I began making our bread. I found this recipe online and tried it because it is one of the few bread recipes that does not include milk. This is the original recipe:

Craig's White Bread – Makes 1 Loaf

1 Cup plus 2 tbsp warm water (slightly warm to the touch)
1 tsp Sugar
2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Warm the bowl of your mixer under hot running water. In a measuring cup combine water, sugar and yeast. Set aside.
Measure the flour and add to bowl with salt. Mix to combine.
Add oil to yeast mixture and pour whole thing into bowl with flour.
Using the dough hook of your mixer, combine on low (2) speed until dough forms a ball. This will take about 5 minutes.
Knead on low (2-3) for 10 minutes adding flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the bottom of the bowl.
Remove dough to an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Knead by hand about 1 minute, form into a loaf and place in oiled bread pan.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until 1 – 1 ½ inches above top of bread pan. No more than 1 hour.
Bake in 375 degree preheated oven for 35 minutes. Bread will sound hollow when done.
Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack.
To store wrap completely cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap. Will keep for about 1 week if it lasts that long.

Now this makes a wonderful white bread, but that was not good enough for me so I played around with the recipe, wanting to make it into a whole wheat bread but keeping the general texture. Not as simple as switching to whole wheat flour. Because of the more dense nature of whole wheat flour and less gluten content whole wheat flour does not rise like all purpose flour. There are two options for remedying this. One - used whole wheat bread flour (not available in all stores) or two – add vital wheat gluten to the flour. I went with the second option since vital wheat gluten is available on most baking aisles. After playing with the recipe for several weeks this is what I have found to work.

Whole wheat “white” Bread

1 Cup plus 2 tbsp warm water (slightly warm to the touch)
1 tsp Sugar
2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup minus 3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
3 tbsp vital wheat gluten

Warm the bowl of your mixer under hot running water. In a measuring cup combine water, sugar and yeast. Set aside.
Measure the flour and add to bowl with salt and gluten (Add vital wheat gluten to the measuring cup then add unbleached flour to make measurement easier). Mix to combine.
Add oil to yeast mixture and pour whole thing into bowl with flour mixture.
Using the dough hook of your mixer, combine on low (2) speed until dough forms a ball. This will take about 5 minutes.
Knead on low (2-3) for 10 minutes adding flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Dough should be slightly tacky when ready.
Remove dough to an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Knead by hand about 1 minute, form into a loaf and place in oiled bread pan.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until 1 – 1 ½ inches above top of bread pan. No more than 1 hour. I place the pan on top of the stove to rise while the oven is preheating to ensure the proper rising temperature.
Bake in 375 degree preheated oven for 35 minutes. Bread will sound hollow when done.
Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack.
To store wrap completely cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap. Will keep for about 1 week if it lasts that long.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day of School

Ladybug started her first day of "school" yesterday. She's now attending The Goddard School and boy was she a big girl. Just a few tears and she was fine, I on the other hand cried until 11am (she was dropped off at 7am). So much for getting any work done. Now this whole process has been difficult for me, I've gone back and forth on being excited and completely against it. I just can't accept that she's old enough to be alright in a daycare setting. A call to her teacher around 8am let me know that she was doing just fine and I resisted the urge to go and get her anyways. Turns out that she's growing up faster than I am.

So all day long I struggled with the feeling that something just wasn't right, I couldn't explain it though. Finally 3:30 and I could leave work. Ten minutes later I walk into her room and she's just happy as can be (she was eating, they must have been bribing her with food all day!) Her teachers said she did great and her daily report told us all about what she did during the day.

She got to paint, play with glue, paper and sand, look for birds outside, sang Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and climbed a foam mountain.

I am quite surprised at how well she's transitioned to this new place. I guess all the interaction with the sitter's children helped get her used to other people. We are forever grateful to our sitter for opening her home to Ladybug over this past year and taking such good care of her. I know she's adjusted so well because she's always felt loved and safe either with Chris and I or with her sitter.

This morning went much better and without tears, so I know that it will be better each day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Officially a Toddler!

Ladybug made her debut as a toddler last Friday. She just suddenly started walking! It's both exciting and sad that she's not really a baby anymore. I went to pick her up from the sitter's and I'm sitting in floor and I see her coming at me from the corner of my eye but it takes a while to realize that she's upright! She walked all the way from the kitchen to me. We were meeting friends for dinner that night so when Chris got there I ran outside and put her down to walk to Daddy. We're so relived that she did this before Chris left to go out of town otherwise I would have had to hold her all week - no walking without Daddy!
It's been a busy week for us and tiring without Daddy here to help out and play. We're looking forward to him coming home tomorrow.
In other news Ladybug is starting to use/hold a fork or spoon while eating and boy is she eating. Walking is taking a lot of energy.

Why the Unexpected Hippie

Before I had children I would have laughed my head off if you had told me that I would be a cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding, baby lead weaning, baby wearing, co-sleeping, selectively vaxing, all things earthy and as natural as possible momma.

Well when they say having a baby changes everything boy does it ever! It all started before we even knew I was pregnant, I looked at Chris and said 'I want chickens'. Chris' response "Huh?! Like for dinner?" 'No, like to raise for eggs and eating' He just assumed that I'd officially lost my mind. Well that desire hasn't left and we live in the suburbs so farm animals are a no-no; that desire hasn't left and in fact has gotten stronger (or worse depending on how you look at it). Over the course of my pregnancy in my desire to save money so that I could stay at home with our little one I discovered breastfeeding and cloth diapering. Everyone thought that I'd lost it then. Cloth diapers - 'you know you have to wash those right?' or 'we'll see how long that lasts' (12 months and going strong).

Ladybug was born and we just parented by instinct and breastfeeding gave way to co-sleeping and then to baby -wearing. It just made sense to us. We didn't like her to cry and felt no need to let her if we could help it. So we rock her to sleep, go to her when she cries and carry her around when she wants to be carried (which isn't very often anymore).

We knew that our goal would be to exclusively breastfeed for six months before starting solids - yes I said six months! As we approached that mark I began doing research into making our own baby food and discovered baby led weaning. What a genius concept. Just offer baby what we're eating and they feed themselves what they want. As long as they're six months old or older they are able to handle easily mushed food on there own, no jars or pureeing or spoon-feeding. Ladybug loves being in control of what she eats (from what we're having for dinner) and there's no stress about getting her to eat since she eats until she's full. It's a little slow going at first.

Well since she started eating 'real' food I started getting worried about what was in the food. So now I'm trying to move to organic foods and minimally processed foods. More work in the kitchen but so worth it in the long run. It tastes better and is better for us. My next goal is to have a garden next spring and summer as well as shopping at the local farmers markets for locally grown produce, I've even looked into using raw milk and plan on touring the farm in the next month or so.

As for Chris, he's been wonderfully supportive in my transition to 'hippie' and although he doesn't always agree with me he still loves me and respects my opinions (and calls me crazy behind my back).

Now I have an opinion on why this has happened to me. It's very simple - God's plan and design. I believe that while God is creating our babies inside us he is also creating the mother that he wants us to be. He gives us the instincts we need to care for and make decisions for our individual and unique child. What works for me may not work for you and may not work for any other child I may have, but He's given me the ability to 'know' what's right for this particular child. To provide the best possible for her. I know a lot of the things that I am doing on instinct create a lot of extra work but He has also given me the strength and support (both His and through those around me) to do it. Not only is He preparing me for things to come in my tasks as a Mom but He's enabling Ladybug to reach her fullest potential to grow into the person He has made her to be.

I love to share about all things 'hippie' so feel free to ask away!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

12 Month Visit

We had Ladybug’s 12 month check today and everything is great - even her ears.

Ladybug is 29 inches and 19.5 pounds! She received her second Polio Vaccine and we’re holding off on the MMR vaccine until she’s two or older. Originally she was going to be getting the MMR vaccine as separate Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines but since Merck stopped making them separately that’s no longer an option.

We decided to hold off on the MMR due to a recent study from Johns Hopkins showing that it isn’t fully effective if administered before 15 months and that the children that have adverse reactions are the one’s who have had frequent ear infections and antibiotic use in the first year of life as well as a dairy sensitivity. Since Madelynn seems to have all of those things we chose to wait until she’s older to receive this vaccine.

We are currently dairy free to see if she really does have a dairy sensitivity. We were clued into the dairy sensitivity after doing some research into her frequent ear infections and seeming anitbiotic resistance. On top of my breastfeeding we couldn’t understand why she was getting the infections and why we couldn’t get rid of it. It seems that ear infections as well as some other issues can be linked to a dairy allergy/sensitivity. (http://www.diannecraft.com/article-008.htm)

Our plan is to switch to raw milk (http://www.realmilk.com/) since dairy allergies and cancers have been linked to the rBGH now given to our commercial dairy cows (www.preventcancer.com/consumers/general/milk.htm).

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Year

Today our baby turns one. I can hardly believe that it has already been a year since she entered our life and can’t imagine what our life would be without her.

One year ago today we were blessed with a healthy baby girl and everyday since have been blessed with watching her grow and thrive into the beaming one year old we have now. I know every year will go by faster and be more amazing to experience.

Some highlights:

Happy Birthday Sweetheart, you are the light of our lives!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Birthdays Galore

Saturday was Ladybug’s first birthday party and Sunday was Gage’s seventh birthday.

We are so blessed to have our families close by so that they can celebrate with us on these special occasions; it also makes for a very full house! Ladybug had her picture made with everyone as they arrived and enjoyed being the center of attention. She was unsure about her cake at first but then dove in! Gage stood guard to make sure no one bothered her and the paparazzi were in full swing!

After a bath to get all the black icing off we opened presents (well I did while she played with the paper). I don’t know if we have a favorite toy but she is playing with them all.

Sunday was spent at Gage’s birthday party – more cake before we start back with the no dairy for Ladybug and I. (more on this later)