Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends and Family, 

 I know it is not as traditional to e-mail out Christmas cards. I hope that you will bear with our new tradition this year! We decided to simplify things and hopefully give you a great insight into our year. We did mini interviews with everyone. Of course, Bear had the most interesting things to say. Please enjoy this quick glimpse. To keep track of us through the year, updates can be found on this blog along with Lauren's homeschooling blog:

All our love, 
Joe, Lauren, Bear, and Indie

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mom to Mom...

I was sort of caught of guard today.

We were at the library. Playing with the trains nicely. And more kids came. So we had to share. Which isn't always the easiest thing to do. Little Bear ended up a tad bit upset (ok, maybe really really upset.) But he didn't push anyone (which is a huge step in the right direction) and he just sat down on the floor and cried. I gave him a timeout. We took a break. Came back to play. And it happened again. He didn't want to share. (he had like 5 of the 6 trains, it wasn't an all or nothing thing).

That's when it happened.

Another mom rolled her eyes.

Now, I know what you are thinking. What's the big deal? Maybe she wasn't really rolling her eyes at you. Get over yourself, Lauren.

But we all know she was.

With my four month old in her moby wrap, three bags full of books in tow, and a screaming 3 1/2 year old, we finally made it out of the library.

And I have to be honest, I was kindof upset. Not with my toddler. We are still learning about the world. About good choices and bad choices. About how we need to share with others. About consequences. We had consequences when we got home. No movies the rest of the day. He knew that. We talked about it.

I was upset with that other mom. About how she judged me and my parenting on the spot.

Who knows what my situation was. My husband could be fighting a war in Afghanistan. My son could have developmental disabilities. It could be the first time in weeks that he didn't actually hit someone. Or I could just be a really bad parent.

I was obviously fine and none of those circumstances apply to us.

But who knows, maybe all that Mom needs is an understanding smile.

Or maybe she could just really really really use a friend.

just a thought, Mom to Mom.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We Moved!

that's it. all 800 square feet. two kids. two adults.

my favorite things...
-we can walk to the coffee shop, santiagos, the childrens museum, the library, the splash pad, and church

-i don't need a monitor to hear the kids...ever.
-i can fold laundry and give bear a bath at the same time.
-if you take a shower and dry laundry at the same time you get a sauna effect. way cheaper than going to an actual sauna.
- i can unload, load, and vacuum the entire place in 6 minutes. i timed it.
-our fridge always seems full.
-i have just enough space for my sewing machine, scrapbooking supplies, homeschooling stuff, and herbs for Ruthie's. oh and our baby stuff. (tip for small spaces: hang as much stuff as you can on the wall)

(i hope you read through some of the sarcasm.)

in all seriousness though, we are very happy in our new home and looking forward to where it takes us!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake- GF version

Original recipe from Martha Stewart Living, July 2011 Issue

Icebox Cake
Makes a 9-inch cake. Serves 10 really hungry men (or 20 women on a diet)

4 cups cold heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon whiskey (always optional)

8 dozen 2 1/4 inch chocolate chip cookies (see recipe below)

1. whisk 3 cups cream and mascarpone cheese until soft peaks. Add whiskey and sugar. Beat until medium-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use. (note- be careful not to overbeat)
2. place 9 cookies in a circle on cake stand or plate. They should be touching. Put two cookies in the center. Cover with 1 cup of cream mixture. Repeat for 7 layers. End with a cookie layer. Refridgerate overnight.

Joe and I decided this cake (the gf version at least) was much much better totally frozen. So I recommend putting it in the freezer overnight.

3. whisk the rest of the cream until soft peaks form. spread over top of the cake and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Cookie Recipe

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

2 1/4 cups + 4 tbsp bob's red mill gluten free flour mix
scant 1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1. sift flour, baking soda, salt, (and xanthum gum if using) in to a bowl.
2. in a seperate bowl beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. add eggs one at a time.
3. add in flour mixture. beat in vanilla. stir in chocolate chips.

For regular: spoon tablespoon at a time on greased cookie sheet. bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes.

For gluten free: spoon tablespoon at a time. bake 325 for 14-16 minutes. watch these one carefully- should be done closer to the 14 minute mark

Monday, April 18, 2011

Indie Ruth

We had the birthing tub sitting on the deck. The obligatory birth kit in the closet. We had bottles of energy sports drinks, herbal teas exploding out of the cabinets and enough tinctures to stock your neighborhood apothecary. We were ready.

It's hard to really recap what happened on the 14th. I got a phone call from our midwives saying they would really like me to get an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech stopped talking small talk at one point. The physicians assistant said to get ourselves ready for a potential "change in plans." The OB came in and said what I was dreading but strangely expecting- "the baby wasn't growing, the heartbeat was great but movement was not, we have to do a c-section, if we induce you she might not survive."

Off to the hospital we went. Bagless. Pregnant. Scared.

"Are you excited to have a baby tonight?"

I have no idea. The rest is a total blur. I was expecting to have Indie taken to the NICU for a couple of days. I was expecting to not be able to see her. To have to dust off my breast pump and start storing milk.

What wasn't a blur was the people around me. Joe pissing off the nurse because he didn't want to put on the scrubs before he had to. Jen (our midwife) with my prenatal chart- chasing down everyone who touched it so she didn't lose it. Lori (my amazingly wonderful friend) running into the room, diet coke in hand, literally two minutes before we went into the OR. Julie (our midwife) on the phone, totally calm, checking in.

Turns out Indie was ok. Itty bitty, but pink and screaming. Joe held her while they finished sewing me back up. Jen gave me the play by play- what Indie was doing, what the OB was doing. Back in the recovery room, Jen practically stripped Indie and I down for skin to skin contact and low and behold- Indie actually latched on. Apparently she was just really, really hungry and really, really ready to come out.

Julie and Angela made it to the hospital the next day to meet Indie. They stayed long enough to watch Bear meet his sister. My mom just happened to be getting on a flight to Denver when I went into surgery. Barrett was with the Woods having a blast eating pancakes with Connor- or so I've been told many times. Lori brought the balloons and birthday cake I had wanted in the "original plan" and we got to sing a teary eyed "happy birthday" to Indie.

Once the percocet wore off I realized I was pretty mad about the whole thing. Than really sad. Than really happy. Back to mad. Maybe a little frustrated. Sad. Happy. Mad.

You get the idea.

I may not have actually had my baby at home but I got what the very thing midwifery care is all about. People loving on us. Surrounding us. And whether that is in your own bed or a crappy hospital one- being surrounded by loving arms is the greatest gift anyone can ever be given.

So thank you to everyone who took care of us. Who loved us. From midwives to family to friends.

And welcome little one! You are precious.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Favorite Homemade Things- Granola Bars

Here's some of the most popular recipes I've found the past couple of years...

Cookie Like Granola Bars

*I decrease the amount of brown sugar to 1/2 cup. otherwise it super sweet. I also switch out some of the oil for peanut and/or almond butter and the raisins for chocolate chips on occasion. already dairy free.

Lara Bars

these are great for an after workout snack. try to find good dates- they can be dry if they've been out too long

Chewy Granola Bars- similar to Clif Bars

I put all the dry ingredients in the food processor so it's more "mealy" than "oaty." these are surprisingly filling and super easy...

Blueberry Scones (that can be gf/df/sf if desired...)

and here's my favorite scone recipe- Joe says they are slightly bitter but I think they toast up really well with some butter or ghee. the original allergy free recipe came from the Allergy-Free Baker's Handbook

6 oz yogurt (cows milk or vegan yogurt)
3/4 cup milk (cows or rice work great)
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 cups flour ( + 3/4 tsp xanthum gum if using gluten free flour)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. double acting baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup blueberries, fresh or slightly thawed

-Mix yogurt, milk, and lemon juice. Add baking powder and let sit for a minute. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Combine yogurt mixture, flour mixture, and oil in a bowl. Mixing until smooth. Dump out on flour dusted counter and cut into circles or triangles.

-Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

(*i have not tried this recipe with regular flour so I can only assume it will still work :) )

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Favorite Homemade Things- Part A

I've attempted countless recipes in the past couple of years- some out of necessity (no time to go to the store) and some out of frugality (no desire to pay for it). Some have worked wonders, others not so much.... take for example:

There was the time I poured an entire gallon of vinegar on the floor in the kitchen to get rid of ants. They left- but only after my house smelled like vinegar for a week.

There was the first time I took a shot of apple cider vinegar to get rid of heartburn and convulsed so bad Joe couldn't stop laughing for another week

(moral of the story- watch out for vinegar tips)

I tried to make dish soap that worked for a bit- than half the ingredients solidified into this weird white glob- I still have like 4 bottles under my sink half liquid half solid that I don't know what to do with

There was the time Joe and I tried to make soap from lye and oil (lye is crazy toxic until you react it) and we practically burned our hands off. Than we didn't really have the right materials to put the soap in to cure... it was just a mess.

But for every recipe I've tried and failed- we have another one that we use daily. I figured I'd post a couple on here 1. so I don't have to look through my e-mails to find where I saved it and 2. because someone else may be able to use them- so if you can use them, than do :)

Laundry Detergent

this is a powder detergent- dissolve in warm water than wash as usual

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda (it is not baking soda, look in the detergent aisle)
2 cups (1 stick) castille soap (grated)

Combine and store. Use 1 tbsp per load. 2 for super dirty ones. Works great for cloth diapers!

Fabric Softener

1 gallon white distilled vinegar
30 drops of essential oil of choice (lavender, tea tree oil, eucalyptus all work great)

ok- i know i said be wary of vinegar recipes- this one works and your clothes really won't smell like vinegar- I promise! Just add a splash or two to the softener part of your cycle

Colloidal Oatmeal

The little man has horrible eczema and one of the only things to help on a regular basis is oatmeal baths. Once or twice a day even. Those packets from the store are great, but at $6-$8 a box, I quickly figured out another way... turns out colloidal refers to the properties of the oats in water. They are suspended instead of floating or sinking. But its still oats- just ground up fine until they float in water and make it milky. So.... recipe....

2 cups old fashioned oats (ok, however much you want to grind, it doesn't have to be 2 cups)

Pulse in food processor, blender, or coffee grinder until a fine powder. Add a pinch to some warm water to test. Store.

Favorite Gluten Free Flour Mix

this is my favorite because it's easy and works with just about everything. It's also way cheaper than the packaged kind...i've seen lots of variations but here is the one i've been using lately:

4 cups superfine brown rice flour (find the superfine stuff- it's worth it)
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour
2 tbsp potato flour

Next up (whenever I get around to finding the recipes) shampoo, face cream, and granola bars