Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for my new cloth diapers.  It's been nearly a 2 month ordeal.  The end of March we started talking about ways to save money.  I suggested we look into cloth or hybrid diapers.  He was willing to look into it, but wasn't totally sold.

After doing some research, I found a 21-day trial I could do and get to try a bunch of different types of cloth diapers in my home, on my baby for only $10.  I signed up for this.  In the meantime, I decided on what I thought I would want to buy.  Something that was easy for daycare, wouldn't break the bank, and absorbent and cute.  After we finished the 21-day trial I just needed to wait for them to receive the diapers and credit my account for the diapers.

We really enjoyed the trial.  Got to really get to understand different cloth diapers, and really play with and use the types and understand it all.  I learned what my daycare lady could and couldn't handle.  And what I liked.  I kept 4 of the pre-fold diapers, because I thought it would be good to have them around.

While waiting for the credit, I ordered a couple diapers of the type I wanted to get so that we could practice them before getting the permanent diapers (the type I wanted wasn't in the trial box).  We got them and I successfully cloth diapered part-time with a total of 6 diapers for about 4 weeks.

My account was finally credited and I ordered my diapers.  I got 2 boxes of Flip diapers, 6 diapers and 2 covers each; I got 1 box of Econobum pre-folds, 3 covers and 12 diapers.  So now I have a total of 30 diapers: 17 pre-folds and 13 Flip.  Both Flip and Econobum are made my Cottonbabies.  They are the makers of the famous Bumgenius as well.  

I'm totally in love with my cloth diapers.  I love how easy they are to use.  Even the pre-folds are easy once you get the hang of it.  I haven't been this excited about any one thing in a loooooong time.  I feel like I could go on and on about cloth diapers.  I really just love them.

I'm very excited to not be spending $10 a week on something that is thrown away.

And the family seems to be on board with this as well.  Josh is excited to save the money.  Kymi thinks the diaper covers are cute.  And Andrew, well, he doesn't care either way.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Memorization Monday

This week's memory verse is from my daily reading.  I'm reading through the bible in one year with a reading plan passed out by my pastor.  I've attempted to read through the bible in one year many times, and this is the longest that I've been able to stick with it.  I'm currently in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 8:18
But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
While this passage is specifically talking to the Israelites, who had a tendency to forget God and often walk away, it's a great reminder to us today that God brought us where we are and God has given us everything we have.  Don't forget who He is just because I'm content and life is going good.  And I want to add, nor should we blame Him when life gets a little rough.

While I'm on the topic of my daily reading, I'm also reading Psalms.  I just read Psalm 99 today.  For the last week or so, every couple Psalms starts off with "The Lord Reigns."  Then talks about why and how He reigns.  What a great way to start off my day.  The Lord Reigns!!  Worship Him.  Praise Him.  Honor Him.  Adore Him.  He is in charge.  He is the creator.  How neat.

One of my favorite songs that we sing in church is titled, "The Lord Reigns,"  by Gateway Music. I get it in my head every time I read one of these Psalms.  

The Lord Reigns, let the people shout
He reigns in righteousness
Let the heavens be glad
Let the earth rejoice
The Lord Reigns, let the people clap their hands
Angels shout, "the redeemed have come to dance."
To celebrate, to celebrate
He reigns

Link to Files and Cord Charts

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for one full year of life with my baby girl.  One year ago today we brought her home from the hospital.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

1 year old

Yesterday Audrey celebrated her one year birthday (as already posted).

Her milestones and growth in the last month:

  • Has a few more words.  Could say "more," "mama," "dada."  She now has "down," "hi," and "bye" when she's in the mood.
  • Will kiss your cheek when asked.  And not a super slobbery kiss, mostly normal.  She makes a little sound when she does it.
  • Will blow kisses when she feels like it.
  • Waves good-bye (I don't remember when she started doing this)
  • Can close drawers without pinching her fingers in them ... that only took one time
  • Has conversations with you
  • She stood up for about 30 seconds to a minute the other day all by herself.  She was very stable.  She didn't realize she was standing.  Doctor thinks she'll be walking in a month.

She is eating almost all solids/finger foods.  We're still nursing, but she's eating solids so well that our nutrition is coming from those.  We are working on transitioning to cow's milk during daycare.  

My own little brag here ... I went a full year without having to supplement for any length of time.  In her first 12 months of life, she has fewer than 5 full bottles of formula.  We tried formula several times thinking that she was hungry and wasn't able to nurse, but she wouldn't take it.  So either she wasn't hungry, or she wasn't interested in the formula.  Around 6-7 months I was unsure if I would make it the full 12 months.  With lots of support from my internet friends and my husband, we made it 12 months and are still going strong!!!!

I forgot to mention her growth stats from the doctor yesterday.
weight: 19 lbs 12 oz (40%)
Length: 29 inches (50%)
head: 44 cm (20%)

She is wearing 12-18 month clothes and size 2 shoes.

Audrey's first Birthday

Yesterday was Audrey's first birthday.  I was very pleased that I got to spend the day with her.  She obviously didn't know the difference and just went on like any other day, but the day was as special to me as is my own birthday, if not moreso.

We began the day by eating breakfast.  A simple breakfast of cheerios and yogurt.  

My little girl LOVES to smile for the camera, no matter what she is doing.

After breakfast we went to the doctor.  All the nurses and technicians and employees said happy birthday.  She grinned from ear to ear.  Still having no idea what was going on, but she's such a happy baby.

She managed to get away with not getting any shots.  Lucky girl!!!  (We go back in 2 weeks for the shots.)

While at the doctor, we read a book together about the Human Body.  

After the doctor we went home and she took a nice long nap.

When brother got home from school, she watched him play his guitar, and even joined in a little bit with her egg shaker.

We ate dinner as a family and then we all sang Happy  Birthday.  She danced along as we sang, and when we got to her name part she started laughing.  I wish I had that on video.  It was beautiful.

We let her open one present yesterday, and she'll open lots more on Saturday for her party.

My little baby girl is one year-old.
We all survived her first year of life.

She had a very scary and traumatic entrance into this world, but her first year has been wonderful.  We are so blessed and lucky to have such happy little baby.

Orange Tart

My last baking project was an orange tart.  I was inspired to do this because we had several oranges hanging around the kitchen that were on the verge of going bad.  Since neither Josh nor myself eat oranges plain, I wanted to find a recipe that uses oranges.  That task by itself was not easy.  Most recipes that call for oranges want just orange zest or orange juice.  But I had WHOLE oranges.   This recipe called for both orange zest and orange juice.  So I hand squeezed the oranges to get my cup of orange juice.  And I grated a peel to get my orange zest.

Alright.  I was ready to go.

It was a tart, and that required pre-baking a tart shell.  Pastry is not one of my strong suites.  I prefer to just buy a pre-rolled out dough then to make my own.  It just seems like a lot of effort for something I don't even like to eat.  But if I'm going to have a bakery, I need to learn how to do pie crust.  So I followed the directions diligently.  I got the dough mixed.  The cookbook has directions for using the paddle attachment on the mixer.  SCORE!! I don't have to do it by hand.  That makes the consistency of the dough a lot more, well, consistent.  And a lot less physical work for me.

OK.  The dough is mixed.  Time to roll it out.

We have a small kitchen; that small kitchen comes with small counters.  Those small counters are filled with kitchen things like a knife set, coffee pots (yes, plural), canisters of food, utensils, spice rack, etc.  There isn't a whole lot of room left over on the counter with all that stuff on it.  But I didn't have to roll out a whole lot of dough.  I sprinkled my flour and pulled out the rolling pin and started rolling.  I don't really like our rolling pin, but it does get the job done.  Got the dough rolled out to the right size; I folded it in half like the directions say and started to peel it off the counter to line the tart pan.  But part of it stuck to the counter.  Not enough flour on the counter?  Dough too wet?  Counter too wet?  Not sure.  I managed to get it off and line the tart pan.  The dough was thick enough that I could patch the small hole I created.

OK.  Baking a crust "blind," as they say, requires lining the crust with dry beans or rice.  We don't have any dry beans, so I had to use rice.  I would prefer beans because I think they are a better weight and consistency for this application.  But I'll use what I have.  I got the crust lined and place the tartpan on a cookie sheet and into the oven it went.

But the cookie sheet wasn't quite big enough and the tart pan just barely didn't fit.  It sat at an angle in the pan and the rice started to tilt the wrong way.  I didn't realize this was going on until it was too late.  After 15 minutes I pulled the crust out of the oven.  Time to remove the rice.  The crust looked like the photo.  Slightly brown on the edges, glossy on the base.  Perfect.  Except a little bubbling on the edge that was tilted up on the  cookie sheet.  Oh well.  It'll be fine.  Back in the oven for another 15 minutes to brown the rest of the crust.  

After 15 minutes I pulled it out and it was all bubbled up.  The sides had fallen to about half their height and the middle had bubbled up.  There was no bowl left for my filling.  I debated making the crust again, but didn't really want to take the time to do that.  I suppose I'll try to pop the bubbles and make it work.

I made the filling.  I was expecting more of a pudding type filling, but instead had more of a quiche or flan filling.  It was mostly eggs, with a touch of other ingredients for flavor.  I didn't expect it to be so liquidy.  I got the bubbles in the crust popped and had somewhat of a bowl-shape to put my filling.  But still not much.  It was like pouring liquid into a pizza crust.  You can imagine the filling eventually just poured out onto the cookie sheet.  I just let it run out.  I filled the crust as much as I could and dumped half the filling down the drain.  Bake for 30 minutes.  

It cooked up right.  But because of the crust situation, it just didn't look right.

It tasted OK.  I thought it tasted a little rubbery.  You could taste the orange, which is good.  Overall it was fine.  But I think the crust to filling ratio was so high that the texture and consistency was wrong.  

I'd like to try this again.  Maybe I'll just have a crust-baking party one day and try to make the crust just right.  That would require a lot of flour and butter.  But I think it would be worth it.  It would save the ingredients I'd otherwise lose to the filling if I tried it several times week after week.

Next week I get to make a birthday cake for a very special little girl.  My daughter turned one yesterday and her party is this weekend.

Next time, I'll try to get photos as I go through my baking.  I believe this needs to be a photo-documented project.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Memorization Monday

Memorization Monday this week is from Luke 2.

51b and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
 52And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

I put both verses in here because I think they are both important and special.  Now, as a mother of a 1 year-old and almost toddler, I have a greater understanding of this passage.  I pray verse 52 for Audrey, and for baby #2.    Verse 52 is my memory verse for the week.

Friday, May 14, 2010


So the doctor handed me a bunch of tests to go get done without telling me anything about what they were and why I was getting them done.

If it weren't for the fact that I'd been through this just 18 months ago, I wouldn't have a clue what was being thrown at me.

I know that these are the genetic screening tests. I know that there are no genetic disorders in either family. Audrey's all came back with flying colors. I'm still young. DH is still young (well ... on the verge of old, at 36). I don't think the chances of having a baby with genetic disorders has increased all that much in the last 18 months.

Furthermore, all I would do with that information is worry for 7 months that something is wrong with my child.

So I'm thinking about declining the tests. It would mean I wouldn't be getting an u/s this trimester, which is fine. But, and this is the sad part, I'm actually nervous about telling my doctor that I'm declining the tests. She was so harsh with me the day that I saw her, I can't fathom what she would say if I told her I didn't want these tests done.

I'll get the blood tests that confirm I'm healthy and we don't have to take any drugs or supplements for the baby, but I just don't want to spend the state's money, or my insurance company's money to have a test done to tell me the low probability of my child having a genetic disorder. There is no way on God's green earth that I would terminate this or any other pregnancy. So why get information that would just make me worry?????

I'm really just thinking out loud here. 

Weekly Happenings - 5/14/10

On Wednesday my Mother's Day present arrived ... a BabyHawk Mei Tai baby carrier.  I'm so excited.  I got it about 50% off retail from ebay.  It's used, but looks brand new. 

If you hadn't heard already, our master bathroom remodel is complete.  We have two brand new usuable, non-leaking, non-moldy, non-stainless steel, non-stained bathrooms!!!!!  Beautiful tile floors.  Gorgeous showers.  New sinks.  New medicine cabinets.  It's so nice to not be grossed out while trying to get clean in the morning.

Interesting Activity:
I had an itch to make a cake with fondant on Saturday, so I ran out to Michael's and got the glycerine for the fondant.  Then sent Josh to Safeway to get me the gelatin that I thought we already had.  I baked the cake and made the fondant.  It turned out OK.  I need some practice, but it's not as hard as I thought it would be.  It uses a lot of powdered sugar, though.  And you need buttercream in addition to the fondant, so that's even more powdered sugar.

Biggest Accomplishment:
Read my bible every morning this week.  Didn't miss a morning.  Since I started reading my bible again, there have been mornings that I've forgotten or not had time, and have had to use Saturdays to play catch up.  Not this week!!  I'm now 15 weeks into reading the bible in 1 year.  This is a plan that Pastor Mike wrote up for the congregation - he hands out cards with our daily reading.  Each card holds 5 weeks of the plan.  We just finished up card #3.

Weekend Plans:
CLEAN!!!!!!  Now that the construction is complete, we need to clean the house.  Get all the dust out of here.  Organize the linen closet.  Clean out the garage again.

Fun Photo:
Our new bathroom (before and after)
Notice the stains in the linoleum?  That's mold growing from underneath

The late Landlord's idea .. Stainless Steel.  It showed all soap scum and hard water stains.  And was impossible to clean.  So GROSS!!!!!

After: Normal shower.  Everything CLEAN

New medicine cabinets

I forgot to get a photo of the floors, but I assure you they are tile and not stained anymore.
All the photos of both bathrooms can be seen on my facebook pageMaster - Hall Bathroom 

Audrey and Mommy in the Mei Tai

I love this photo.  Not bad for a self portrait.  We're looking at each other and smiling.

Photo's not as good, but I wanted to show the front.  

The carrier can also be used on the back, which will be very helpful when my baby belly starts growing.

The cake with fondant that I made.  I was told it was quite scrumptious, but I'm not a big fan of cakes, so it's hard for me to judge.

I need to work on not having so much powdered sugar all over the place.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thankful Thursday - 5/13/10

Today for thankful Thursday I am thankful for a completed bathroom remodel.  I got to shower in my own shower this morning, use my own toilet, and brush my teeth in my own sink. I don't have to take all my bathroom things to a different bathroom anymore.  I don't feel like a college student anymore.  VERY exciting.

It's amazing what you take for granted ... a master bathroom is one.  

While I don't mind using a hall bathroom for a shower, if I'm not used to it and have to take my things with me every time I use it, it becomes a hassle.  Additionally, I like to keep an eye on Audrey, whether she's sleeping or playing, when I'm getting ready in the morning.  That's difficult to do from a hall bathroom.

It's also nice to have all the remnants of construction gone.  With the construction gone we can easily get to our washer/dryer again, we can park the car in the garage, we can let the dog roam the back yard freely, we can let Audrey roam the house freely, Audrey will take better naps, and we can know that our house will be in the same condition when we get home from work as it is in the morning when we leave.

We will be cleaning the house this weekend.  YAY!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Julie and Julia ... and my own adventures

On Mother's Day, Josh and I watched Julie and Julia.  I was hesitant to watch the movie because I've always cringed at the sound of Julia Child's voice.  But it seemed like such a cute movie and I was in a mood for a cute story.  It really was a lot of fun.  Meryl Streep does a fantastic job as Julia Child.  And I just love Stanley Tucci as her husband.  Amy Adams is beyond cute and does a great job portraying Julie Powell (although not knowing Julie Powell, I have no idea how accurate her portrayal is).  At any rate, we really enjoyed ourselves.  There wasn't a huge conspiracy, there was very little language, there were only a couple sexual references - and those were within the contexts of marriage.  It was just real life.  

I was inspired by Julie Powell's story.  I may look for her book and read HER version of her story.  I think I also want to buy Julia Child's cookbook.

I was so inspired by her story that I'm feeling moved to bake more often.  I love baking.  It's relaxing.  I feel accomplished.  I have created something.  I feel like I can call myself a cakewright, or a cookiewright.  Some people know that I have a notsosecret ambition to open my own bakery someday.  That requires lots of practice.  I have been trying to bake something every weekend - some weekends it just doesn't happen.

I would like to follow Julie Powell's example and really be diligent about this and set a plan to bake and I think I may even blog about it.  I need something to keep me honest.  I haven't yet decided if I want to blog here in my Contemplations or if I want to start a new blog (that would be 4 that I keep updated.....).  I'll keep thinking about that.

In the meantime, this weekend I'm going to make Candied Orange Slices, and I'm thinking I'll try my hand at some Petit Fours.  Those probably won't go well, but I want to try anyway.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Happenings

New/Noteworthy: Audrey got her first birthday present, a gift from an online gift exchange.  She got a cute little Xylophone.

Interesting Activity: On Sunday afternoon, after all our church stuff was done and we were relaxing, Josh and I spent the afternoon playing Scrabble.  That was fun.  He kicked my butt.

There's a teen from church who needs some math tutoring, so we're exchanging tutoring for babysitting.  I think that's a spectacular deal.

Biggest Accomplishment: Went to the bank and got some fees reversed and some free checks.  The best part about this accomplishment was staying calm and professional throughout the entire process.

Weekend Plans: Tomorrow Kymberly has a band review, so we'll go watch her march.  Sunday is Mother's Day and I have requested a picnic in the park with my daughter and husband.  I'd like to go somewhere where I can take some photos and where Audrey can crawl around and have fun, too.

Fun Photos:

Audrey playing with her new Xylophone.

I love this ... "OK.  I'm done."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Audrey's new t-shirt

I wish the video were a little better, but Audrey was being, well, an infant.

Originally uploaded by Christsstar

I get a lot of Audrey's clothes free from freecycle, friends, family, etc.  We are a family that believes in handmedowns, especially for something that she will grow out of so quickly.  This shirt is one that we got handmedown.  It's a cute shirt.  It fits her nicely.  And if you can read it, you'll see that is says, "I'm gonna be a BIG sister."  I want to say that I added that with an iron on transfer to the shirt.

Yes, that's right.  Audrey is going to be a BIG sister!

Baby #2 is due December 11.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Memorization Monday

By Friday last week I didn't yet have a memorization verse for the week. I decided that unless one struck me during the sermon I would just review this week since I'm feeling a little week on a couple verses. I didn't hear anything in the sermon, so I was prepared to just review this week.

Then I read my bible this morning and God revealed a verse to me. I guess God didn't want me to simply review this week.

Psalm 80:3
O God, restore us
And cause your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.

The idea of this verse is mentioned three times in this chapter. I like the word picture that it creates. I think of God's face shining on me and what that would look like to the world. A spotlight in a dark room lights up a subject and all eyes are in that object. Its nearly impossible to not watch. How cool would it be to truly be lit
up by God's face?

I also think of being restored. A classic car is restored to original condition. it becomes like new. Dents hammered out. Engine rebuilt. new leather seats. Brand new tires. like the day it was rolled out of the factory. But the car still has a history. And we would too. Having learned from prior mistakes we have a greater and deeper understanding of God, man, life, etc. We aren't fresh, but our dings and debts have been repaired.

A friend recently wrote a song about returning to our walk with God when we first believed. How simple and precious we are. Full of vigor. we are new people when we first believe, totally in fire for God and His kingdom. I want to return to that!

Restore me, Oh God. Shine upon me so the world can see.

Growing baby girl...

On Friday, Josh, Audrey and I went out to dinner. Audrey was on the tired side and we were nervous that she wouldn't cooperate for sitting still at dinner. We purposely went to a noisy and casual restaurant, Outback Steakhouse. In trying to keep Audrey entertained we let her try to color on the children's menu. She's probably still a bit young for coloring, but wanted to try it.

She kept dropping her crayons or trying to eat them. Josh would point his finger at the table and coloring sheet and try to get her to at least leave the crayons on the table. She copied her daddy with the pointing. Since that night, she has been pointing down at tables and poking things nonstop. And just now, as I was pointing at myself, she said, "Mama.". I think that's the first time she's identified me in that way. In the last week she has learned to blow kisses and has gotten better at kisses in the cheeks.

My heart is melting.......

My daughter is growing up.

She will be 1 in just 14 days.