Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vera: Six Weeks


The Beginning of Cloth Diapering

We started cloth diapering last weekend!  Vera hit the 10 lb. mark at her one month appointment, so we thought it was time to try her cute cloth diapers!  (Plus, we were getting a little tired of shelling out so much $$ for disposables.)  We started with prefolds, a snappy, and covers, and after a day successfully using those we thought we'd see if her BumGenius one-size diapers would fit.  They did!  I thought they might still be a little too big around the leg holes, but they weren't!  They are slightly more bulky than disposables, but her clothes still fit just fine.
We think she's stinkin' cute in them, too!  (Pictured below, newborn size prefold with a Thirsties cover.)
I'm still getting the hang of doing the diaper laundry, but between the prefolds and the Bums, I have enough diapers to last about 2 days.  The trick is drying them.  Our dryer is not very efficient (it'd probably take 2 hours to dry our diapers), plus I've heard BumGenius diapers last longer when NOT dried in the dryer, so we dry all our diapers on a drying rack in our kitchen (where our laundry is).  It takes a pretty long time for inserts and prefolds to dry that way!  So we're doing diaper laundry every day at this point so that everything is dry and ready when we need it.

Oh, and we're still using disposables at night and when we travel.

That's our little cloth diaper update!  We love using them and are excited about saving money this way!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

He's so Abominable

Our kitty doesn't get a lot of attention on our blog, mostly because now we have a little someone who is much cuter of whom we would rather take and post pictures.

But we had to post about his most recent escapade.

Last week we found him sleeping quite contentedly in our baby's papasan chair.  (We're still not sure why it took him five weeks to discover how soft and comfy it was!)  Before we kicked him out, we snapped a picture, then we inverted the chair so he wouldn't get in it again.

A few hours later, we came back and saw this:

Guess the back side was comfy too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

I mentioned these biscuits in yesterday's Autumn Chowder post.  They are easy to make to accompany soup or any other meal for that matter.  Try some tonight!

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. shortening
1 cup buttermilk (or, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and enough milk to make 1 cup)

Sift dry ingredients together.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add buttermilk all at once.  Stir until dough follows fork or spoon around the bowl.  Turn out on floured surface and knead 30 seconds (may need to add more flour if dough is too sticky to knead).  Roll 3/8 inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter or juice glass.  Bake on an ungreased sheet at 450 degrees for 11-12 minutes.  Makes 2 dozen biscuits 1 inch in diameter.

Enjoy!

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Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Monday

Monday
lunch: cheese quesadillas, tortilla chips, salsa, black beans
dinner: chili, cornbread

Tuesday
lunch: roast beef sandwiches, tossed salad, grapes
dinner: chicken stir fry, rice

Wednesday
lunch: leftovers
dinner: creamy chicken and rice casserole, mixed veggies

Thursday
lunch: scrambled eggs, toast, bacon
dinner: sticky teriyaki chicken, rice, steamed broccoli

Friday
lunch: roast beef sandwiches, chips, grapes, veggies
dinner: with family

Breakfasts
oatmeal, cereal, bagels, biscuits

Autumn Chowder

This soup is one of my favorite meals ANY time of year, but especially in the fall!  It is a recipe that my mom passed on to me and she still makes regularly as well.  It is quite delicious!

Autumn Chowder

1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped up (optional)

1-2 Tbsp. butter
4-6 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 can evaporated milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled OR diced ham
1 cup corn (I used frozen)
1 can cheddar cheese soup

Saute onion and celery in butter.  In a large soup pot, begin cooking potatoes in water (1/3 to 1/2 pot full of water).  Add celery, onion, and salt and pepper to taste.  As potatoes become done, add evaporated milk, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, bacon (or ham), and corn.  Simmer for one hour but do not boil.  Add cheddar cheese soup and continue heating.  You may add water if soup becomes too thick.  If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese.

Serves 8-10 (freezes well!)

Great served with buttermilk biscuits!  I'll post the recipe for those tomorrow.

Enjoy!

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Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Apple Crunch


I hope my sweet mother-in-law does not mind me posting her recipe for this delicious apple dessert!  She posted it on her blog earlier this week.  It is so easy to throw together (even while babywearing!) and is also delicious for breakfast.  I'm not going to tell you how I know that...

Tad's mom is a great cook and she makes so many healthy recipes.  I'm not sure, but I'm thinking this one might not fit in the "healthy" category, though.  :)

Apple Crunch

Granny Smith apples (I used three large)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. cold butter
1 beaten egg
cinnamon
nutmeg

Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8x8" baking dish.  Peel and slice enough Granny Smith apples to fill the bottom of the baking dish.  In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter.  Add the egg and mix until moistened.  Sprinkle this mixture over the apples.  Shake on some cinnamon (and I added nutmeg too) to taste.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  This recipe can be doubled to fit a 13x9" dish. 

This is GREAT served with a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee!  Enjoy! 

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Linking to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Windy Poplars

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One Kings Lane: $15 credit!

I recently got $15 for joining a site called One Kings Lane, and you can too! Every day they offer new deals (at great prices!) on housewares (everything from rugs to furniture to dishes to art). When you join by clicking here, you can see what all they have for sale, plus get a $15 credit!

Recently I saw Vera Wang place settings for sale.
Also, there is a great cookbook sale currently going on. A few of the cookbooks are only $11-$13, so with your credit, you could get one free (plus a little shipping)! You could keep it or save it for a Christmas gift.
Upcoming sales include Chantal teapots and teacups...
...Sigg water bottles, and much more!
One Kings Lane was recently featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, where stylist Michael Walters said, "You could outfit your entire house by checking in every day for six months."

You can join now by clicking here!

Disclosure: links contain affiliates (i.e. I get $15 when I refer a friend)

UPDATE: This beautiful green teapot is only $15... so it would be free with your credit for joining!

 

UPDATE 2: I just purchased this awesome picnic cooler from One Kings Lane. You never know what they'll have for sale each day!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Household Tip: Using Vinegar to Clean Toilets

Cleaning the toilets is certainly not the most glamorous task! I thought I'd share a tip for helping get the job done effectively.

Use white vinegar instead of bleach! Just pour some vinegar (maybe 1/8 of a cup?) into the bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Come back and scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. The stains disappear! Also use vinegar (on a paper towel or reusable cleaning cloth) to wipe down the seat and the rest of the toilet.

For more uses for vinegar, check out this helpful site. You can use vinegar to make glassware sparkle, clean your grill, get rid of ants, banish laundry stains, remove odors and residue, sooth a sunburn, and much more! Read on....

Do you have any natural cleaning tips to share?

Monday, September 20, 2010

All Smiles

As I mentioned yesterday, Vera started smiling this week! Here are a few pics.


Sorry the pictures are so dark! I'll try to take some in better light soon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Vera's One Month Old!

My sweet baby girl is a month old today!

Some milestones:
-great neck support (she is pretty good at holding her head up!)
-big eater (nursing 10-11 times a day)
-started smiling! (pictures coming tomorrow)
-sleeping longer at night (I dare not say how long...haha)
-responds to voices by turning her head
-makes eye contact and responds to our talking with cooing sounds
-very alert and aware of her surroundings
-loves to be held... definitely a big cuddler :)

This rocking chair was used by my mom to photograph me and my brothers for our monthly pictures during our first year of life!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a wonderful cookie recipe that our family has enjoyed for years! I like to keep a batch of dough in the fridge and make a dozen cookies when we want some... since they're the best when they are warm out of the oven! They also are good once they have cooled since they stay chewy.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup and 1/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Beat together all ingredients except for flour and chocolate chips. Mixture will be smooth and creamy and very light in color. Then, add the flour and the chocolate chips and mix well. Form into balls. Refrigerate dough balls that you are not baking right away. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Bigger Bang for Your Bunch

...or, "How to Artfully Arrange a Bunch of Flowers"

Tad brought home a lovely bouquet of flowers for me when he was out grocery shopping for me this morning (is he great or what?). I thought I'd share how I arranged my bunch in order to get the most visual impact!

I almost always split up bunches of flowers. I think each type of flower stands out so much better when it is separated from the bunch. Plus, you get to spread out the vases of flowers all over your house!

The star of this bouquet was the sunflower. I put it in a Boyland's glass bottle on the table in the breakfast nook.
The next flower was this beautiful yellow spider mum. I stuck it in another glass soda bottle and put it next to my kitchen sink. Up next was this bunch of yellow/purple mums. I cut them pretty short and put them in a bell mason jar on the other side of my kitchen.
Finally, I placed these purple mums in a jar that formerly housed strawberry preserves. I wrapped the jar with twine to cover the label. I also cut these really short. There were a few stray little flowers as well that I tucked in a green bud vase in the bathroom.
Here are a few other tips from my days as a florist:
- Always cut your stems before putting the flowers in a vase
- Never allow any leaves, buds, or flowers to be under the water line (they'll cause bacteria to grow and your flowers won't last as long)
- Use a little of the floral food they give you in each of your vases
- Change your water every few days and your flowers will last much longer!
- Very long-lasting flowers: mums (all varieties) and alstroemeria

Hope these tips help you brighten up your home with flowers!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Do you believe?

"I think babies really do make you believe in God. They make you believe in God because there's something just beyond understanding about their freshness and fragility and their smell and their toes. When they take their first breaths, and when they land, floppy and slippery, on your chest under the bright overhead light in an otherwise dim delivery room, when you watch their tiny sleeping selves, when you hear their thin wild animal cries, you know, you just know in your guts that God is real, and that babies have been with Him more recently, have come more directly from Him than our worn-out old selves have."
- Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vera: Three Weeks



Mommy at 3 weeks


















... and Daddy at 2 days!

















Can you tell she's ours?

Double Chocolate Ice Cream

This is a very dangerous recipe that Tad and I created in the kitchen last night. Very. Dangerous. But, oh, soooo good! The best part? No ice cream maker or rock salt required!
Double-Chocolate Ice Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted
splash of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir well. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour into a 2-qt. container and freeze for 6-8 hours until firm.
We love the light and fluffy (almost marshmallowy) texture that this ice cream has. Oh yeah, and the wonderful chocolate flavor!
You can use this basic recipe (sweetened condensed milk + whipping cream) and process to make all sorts of flavors of ice cream. We also made cinnamon bun ice cream, which was rich, but totally yummy.

Enjoy!

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Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things I Love about Fall

1. The glorious colors of the changing leaves
2. The contrast of said leaves against a clear blue sky
3. Pumpkins!
4. A steaming hot caramel macchiato or a chai tea latte
5. Decadent fall desserts, particularly anything that contains pumpkin, cheesecake, caramel, or, yes, all three!
6. That feeling of crispness, fresh starts, and new beginnings
What are your favorite things about fall?

Go-Gurt: A Review and a Giveaway!

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***
Winner... Comment #3: Davene!
I recently had the opportunity to sample and review Yoplait Go-Gurt. Go-Gurt is yogurt in a tube and is perfect for packing in lunches or taking on the go. According to Yoplait, "There is no ice pack needed - Go-Gurt (and Simply… Go-Gurt too!) is specially made to freeze and thaw, keeping the yogurt, and the rest of lunch, cool until lunch time."

I tried both the Strawberry Splash and Berry Blue Blast flavors and they were yummy! It was a little weird eating yogurt out of a tube, but I'm sure kids would love that (and you don't have to pack a spoon!). My favorite way of eating Go-Gurt was to freeze it and eat it like a popsicle.

Want to try some for yourself? Leave a comment on this post telling which flavor(s) you'd like to try, and you will be entered into a giveaway for a Yoplait Go-Gurt prize pack which includes a coupon for free Go-Gurt, as well as some fun school supplies! Click here to view the variety of flavors of Go-Gurt.

This giveaway will remain open through Monday, September 13 at 11:59 PM.
***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***

Yoplait through My Blog Spark provided me with a package of Go-Gurt to sample and review, as well as the prize pack for this giveaway. My opinions of the product are my own.
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