Monday, September 10, 2012


We' ve been busy around here as of late.

A few weeks ago Erick's parent's came to town and Wesley had his baby blessing.  Here's all the cousins together from the Baker side, our kids and then the wonderful Rex and Alice.  It's so nice when they come to play.  Usually Rex is following Cora and Cash is following Rex.  Alice is always eating something, and then Bryant is usually off complaining in a corner somewhere hoping we'll cave in and just let him watch a movie (seriously, he does this at every single family event and holiday).

While Erick's parents were here I thought we would do something special so we went to Old Salem.  It was alright.  Cash didn't like it much so we mostly hung outside with Wesley and the stroller while every one toured.  Cash was kind of scared of all the old people dressed in period clothing.  Either way, it's always fun to spend time as a family.  Here's the family in front of an old something-or-other.

Cora has had her heart set on having Grandma Janette at her birthday for a LONG time.  So it worked out nicely that Grandma was able to come for her friend-party this year!  We did a "Fancy Nancy" party with manicures, bracelet making, facials, silly masks, fancy cup cakes, pizza and fancy princess drinks!  This picture was taken right before everyone started to arrive.  Cora was soooo excited!  Aunt Andrea and Uncle Mike came to help out too which was great because it turns out that five year olds making bracelets need help!  Mike did his job by holding Wesley the entire time.  The party was a great success! 

And since then school has started, which is fabulous.  I have time to clean my house again, I've even started going to a gym and doing classes (seriously, I hate the huge mirror at the front though...I feel like a stick figure drawing with all of these amazing looking ladies!), and am happy that I am actually keeping up!  I may only be using the 10lb kettle bell, but I'm keeping up till the end!  Anyways, It's fun.  I especially love the extra time I get with my two sweet, sweet little boys.  I love being able to focus on what Cash wants to do each day.  When the older kids are home, I have to cater more towards them and their friends, etc. but I love being able to tailor our days to Cash now that the older two are at school.  On the other hand Miss Cora is still claiming that she doesn't like school, and I do miss her a lot... so we'll see if we decide to stay in past Christmas.  Her teacher seems very nice but does not send home any home work, and I'm not sure about the level of teaching going on, so I'm having Cora do 3-5 reading lessons at home each week...because she WILL learn to read this year one way or another!  I'm starting to wonder about math...I'm going to be keeping an eye on what completed work they send home.

I'm also hoping to start some little preschool activities for Cash soon...anyways, that's what's been up with me lately!

Friday, August 24, 2012

School Lunch!

Can I just tell you about something that excites me?  First off, having a baby five days into summer vacation can hamper a lot of the normal things you may do in the summer, like being outside a lot, swimming, etc.  I am just not down with taking a newborn in the sun for a few hours, so a lot of my summer has been inside.  I also got tired of CONSTANTLY being asked "mom whats for dinner"  "EWWW!!! Gross!"  and "mom, whats for snack?"  "when am I getting my snack?"  repeat a million times.  Sooooo, a month ago, I started doing a menu that included breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack for each day.  It took a bit of time to do, but the effect was marvelous.  I knew what I was making, and was so much more prepared than I had been before doing the menus just for dinners, and even better, the kids knew what I was making.  Now, they just look at the menu to know what we're having instead of pestering me (and I didn't know half the time either!).  I also instituted a rule that no one is allowed to criticize the meal made BEFORE trying it.  A certain somebody was always grossed out every night by whatever I said we were having, and then would usually end up eating it just fine, so now, that is simply not allowed!  You have to try it first!  

Now, with school starting on monday, I decided to make a meal calendar for the entire month.  Another big decision was to make the snack the SAME every day for a week instead of coming up with varied things--too complicated!  So now, there is the same snack each day, and it changes each week.  I do choose something that everyone will like, like a cereal/pretzel snack mix, popcorn, etc, so that no one is miserable all week!  I have found this simple thing has also made my life slightly simpler.  They know what to expect, and it calms things down a little around here!  Also, I am sending Cora to Kindergarten, and she is a total foodie, so I know she will not be okay with a pbj every day, unlike Bryant who basically ate a turkey sandwich every single day happily last year.  He is okay with variety as long as it's bland (seriously, the boy does not like a lot of flavor, I think he is what we in the psychology world call a "super taster") So, in making the menu, I've got some fun new ideas that I am excited to try, and most of them can be made in advance and stuck in the freezer.  On Saturdays when I come home from shopping I've started making the foods like muffins/ pancakes and just freezing them for the rest of the week (very exciting weekends around here!  But like I said, newborns do not equal lots of crazy activities! And I actually really like baking).

To simplify the lunches, they will eat the same lunch twice each week (so two lunches) and then buy lunch on Fridays.  And, no, there is no treat in their lunch.  I'm so mean.  But they get so many treats shoved down their throats from parents (myself included) bringing in stuff for birthdays, etc. and we make a dessert once a week.  I'm not worried about it and don't want to set a precedent.  I do throw in the occasional treat, but kids typically just eat what you give them, and they can buy an ice cream with their lunch on Fridays.  Last year I actually made Bryant take fruit every day for his snack, but this year, I'm doing different things...I'm trying to compromise (fruit will be their afternoon snack). Finally, I know I am weird that this stuff excites me, but it simply does.  Sams club also excites me.  I take joy in the simple things, I seriously do.  These are the things that make up my life. I spend a lot of time making food, eating food, and cleaning up food!  So I think it's a good thing I like it!

Anywho, for those who are curious, here is my Sept lunch menu:
The first line is the snack item.  

September 2012


4 crackers/chz
5 crackers/chz
6 crackers/chz
7 buy lunch


Hard boiled egg
Mini bagel sandwich
Apple slices
Home made pop tart
Cheese stick
Hard boiled egg
Mini bagel sandwich
Apple slices
Crackers/chz snack

10 snack mix
11 snack mix
12 snack mix
13 snack mix
14 buy lunch
Pin wheels
Apple slices
Pumpkin muffins
Cheese stick
Pin wheels
Apple slices
Pumpkin muffins
Cheese stick
Snack mix

17pumpkin muf.
18 pumpkin muf
19 pumpkin muf
20 pumpkin muf
21 buy lunch
Pickle roll ups
Apple sauce
Ww crackers
Pizza bites

Pickle roll ups
Apple sauce
Ww crackers
Pizza bites

Pumpkin muffin snack

24 crackers/chz
25 crackers/chz
26 crackers/chz
27 crackers/chz
28 buy lunch
Turkey sandwich
Apple sauce
Pizza bites
Apple slices
Pbj sandwich
Apple sauce
Pizza bites
Apple slices

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Here you go.

I thought I'd share a few pictures because, well, Emma asked me to, and there may be a few random people out there, that might want to know what I look like these here I am at 33 weeks.  Now I am 36.5 weeks.  I probably weigh about 3-5 lbs more now, so I probably look about the same.  Moving on...

Since I'm posting pictures, it was easy to go ahead and down load a few more.  I have absolutely loved decorating my mantle this year.  I don't know what it is, but I have just gotten so much joy from doing a little something fun with each season.  I did this after Valentine's day, and love it so much, I will likely leave it up for a while-through the summer, as I may not feel up to changing it for a while when the baby comes!  I like that it works for spring and summer.  I am however, still planning on buying a patriotic wreath for the front door!  Right now I have a really pretty/glittery sunflower hanging.

I like this picture because it does two things--shows off two of my goofy kids who LOVE to pose in any picture possible.  And it shows their personalities--Cora is striking a pose, and Bryant is just happy to be in a picture, getting attention!  And of course, the original reason I was trying to take a picture was to capture my Easter-egg center piece!  I try to keep the mantle a little more dignified, but in the kitchen I like to do fun, silly decorations.  The kids love it.  I think they rearranged the egg ornaments a hundred times.  On Easter day, I actually had an egg table cloth and Easter egg plates, and a big banner to make it even more fun!  I know I am turning into one of "those" people.  And it's funny, because I used to be so uptight, judgmental and snooty about how people celebrate holidays.  Now that I have these children, I have just realized, I love to make them smile, I love to celebrate with them, and do silly things, and create memories.  That's why I do it.  I think that's what these little kids need.  I am sure there are other kids given to other parents with other needs, but, I always do what I feel is good and right, and this is what feels good and right to me.  And I know it could be exactly the opposite for another family, and that's just fine.  And any time my kids ask me if "such and such" character (like the Easter Bunny) is real.  I always just say "he's real, if you want him to be!" or "he's real to people that believe in him!"  Or, I just say "what do you think?" They seem pretty happy with those answers.  Any's the super-cute picture:

Finally, I had to put one with Cash in here!  Here he is on Easter, hunting down eggs in our family Easter-egg hunt.  I was surprised at how well the little guy did!  He found a lot of eggs.  I also love this because he's just in his undies--this was just a week into being potty trained, and I have him in super loose undies so he can easily maneuver them.  Every body thought they looked a little funny, but I do what I have to do!  And he didn't have any accidents!  He is such a sweetie pie!

There you go!  

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dare to blog?

Erick isn't home from work yet (had to drive to Charelston, SC and back), so I'm home, alone, and I've read all the huff post, drudge report, and other news sources (I like to be well rounded!) that I'm going to read, the kids have LONG been in bed, and the kitchen has LONG been clean.  For some reason when I know Erick isn't going to be home, I am super efficient about getting stuff done because I'm worried that I'll get too tired if I put it off, and I am really yeah.  Anyways, so now I look very pregnant.  Any time I go out into public, at least 10 strangers feel the need to comment, sometimes even more.  I asked Erick why he thought this was so and he said it's because a lot of times people are not very sure if someone is pregnant or just a little overweight, but when they see this skinny lady with an enormous belly, they feel very confident that yes, I am pregnant, and like to say all the things they would say to all of those pregnant ladies...blah blah blah.  I kind of think this is true.  A week ago the cashier at Aldi actually physically poked me and asked how much longer I had to go.  I thought that was crossing the line a little.  Come on, look but don't touch!  Here are some of the comments I have received from complete strangers in the last week:

"Wow, ANOTHER baby!!! You already have two!!!"  "Actually, this will be number four, thank you, I have one at school."  "oh my!"

"Oh, this little guy (Cash) isn't going to be the baby anymore!  I bet he won't like that!"  Huh, I guess we'll find out.

"Is it a boy or girl"  "boy"  "oh, he'll be a great big brother"   "that's what I'm hoping for!!!"

"Oh, I love children, I hope you're enjoying it!"  "Don't worry, I am"  What do you say to that???

"Oh, is it a boy or girl?"  "Boy"  "Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?"  "Um, yes, don't worry, we're good"  Walk away quickly.

And repeat, repeat, repeat (except that last one.  It was a one-timer).

Also, I have been nesting like crazy.  About a month ago I was blessed with an AMAZING amount of energy, and I worked as hard as I could every single day to organize, organize, and organize some more.  I probably spent about one or two hundred dollars (who's counting!!!) on sterelite, rubbermaid and other various organization thingys from Target, but it is SO worth it.  My closet is organized, actually ever single closet is organized. And it feels wonderful.  Okay, the kids have put some loving touches/changes on a couple of the closets, but each closet is at least within five minutes of complete organization-ness.  Good enough for me.  I also purged all of Cora's clothes and gave all of her small ones away (kept a few mementos for future grand daughters of course), and went through every single baby boy up to 4t item I own, and sorted them.  It took forever, but now, when the baby comes home, I will have everything I need in an extremely large rubbermaid ready to go! The best thing of all, is that I feel a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  It feels good to know everything is in it's very own place.

Now, I feel free to do some other things like make some things and store them in the freezer for post-baby (including plenty of popsicles and treats!).  During the last month or so I also had a great desire to take care of some big projects that involved Erick.  We have had tile for three years that has been waiting to go into our downstairs bathroom.  Cute ideas from pinterest finally pushed me into begging Erick to stop working on his trucks and give a little TLC to our bathroom and laundry area.  Of course, when Erick is going to do something like tile, all of a sudden we need to completely redo everything including toilet, vanity, sink, paint, the works.  That was fine with me.  So he did; heaven bless that man.  I now have an amazing bathroom, and laundry area that I really like.  I really detested our old bathroom.

A couple of weeks later, I noticed that I suddenly hated our front land scaping.  It had so many weeds and was so hard to maintain, I wanted to re-do it, but that's really hard when you can't bend over a lot, and you have no idea what you are doing, or what to do.  I told Erick that I didn't know why, but all of a sudden all I could think about was how much I hated our landscaping, and if he would just help me plan a new plan, I would start working on it, and he could just help IF he wanted to.  So we made a new plan, and I did start to work on it.  And Erick, being Erick, saw me using the manual clippers, and then came over with some electric ones and trimmed all the bushes 1000 times faster than I could.  I started raking away all of the weeds for a couple of days, and one night he came with his rake and did it all and I just wheeled away wheel barrel load after load.  Finally he just told me not to worry and spent an entire Saturday laying weed barrier, mulch, and then some gorgeous decorative stone, topped off with a few accent planters with monkey grass.  It looked so good, I wanted to cry.  I really don't deserve him, but I certainly will keep him as long as I can!!!  Which in my case, is eternity.  Phew.

Finally, in all of my nesting, I decided that I didn't know how I would ever potty train Cash with a newborn, or any-size baby.  I know people do it all of the time, I have never been one of those people, so I was scared.  I decided to go ahead with it.  Cash was right at 22 months old when I did the big "training day" and all I could think of was how crazy I was for trying it, but I knew it would work, and did my best to make it a positive experience.  For anyone who wants to potty train...22 months is a little too young in my opinion.  I think it would have been easier if he was 24-28 months (the sweet spot for training in my opinion), but I did not have the luxury of waiting if I wanted to do it before the baby.  I did prepare like it was a marathon.  I was ready, and I did it, and it was a long morning, but he figured it out and went on that potty.  The next week, he felt the need to test me in every single situation possible--you mean I still have to use the potty when I'm in the play room?  What about the kitchen?  Oh goodness, but now, a month later, he uses the potty.  And anyone that thinks that they can truly potty train a child in a day is kidding themselves.  But I've found it's a good start, and it really takes about a month, a little less if you're lucky.  It certainly has not made my life any easier though.  I have to bend over all the time, and he now is insulted when I put on his diaper at night and does everything in his power to escape his lumbering, slow, mother.  It is pretty exhausting.  I just tell myself, we would have had to do it eventually either way, and now it's done (mostly).  Besides, he is so proud of himself, and has earned tons of jungle animal figures, which he loves because he was afraid of going #2 for a while, so I used the animals as a motivator.

Okay, Erick came home a half hour ago.  I should go talk to him.  I hope you have enjoyed my little slice of blogging.        

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Joy of Eating.

It's been a little while since I wrote, and Erick is changing something or another on his truck tonight, so I figured I'd give the internet world a slice of what I've been thinking lately. You want to know what I've been thinking? First of all, I have been thinking of about a million different things, and all of them all the time. But to get slightly more specific, I tend to think about FOOD. Yes, as a pregnant person, I have been reduced to the lowest common denominator. FOOD. I have almost no will power any more, and since I always struggle to gain weight in pregnancy, I pretty much have the green light to go for whatever I want!!! But seriously, I do feel pathetic about it. I like to think that I have self control, and that I can make wise choices, but last week, after an hour of swimming with Cora, I realized after we pulled out of the parking lot that I was so hungry, I was literally shaking. I didn't know if I could make it home ( especially not to the sad sight of something like a plain sandwich), and all of a sudden, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Cook Out. Hush puppies, grilled chicken, french fries, corn dogs, Coke float, I wanted it all, and you bet your bottom dollar I went right through that drive through and had about five puppies to tide me over till' we got home. Cash and Cora are loving my new-found obsession with food. Normally I actually never eat fast food, or do so very, very rarely. But these days, I've just got to have what I want right away, and I've got a pretty good is the one thing I like about pregnancy. Food tastes good, and I get to eat what I want.

After Cash was born, I felt so busy and overwhelmed that I literally only ate when I realized I was starving and could not continue folding the endless loads of laundry, or spending 45 minutes nursing, or cleaning up puke or whatever. I was soooo tired all the time, and did not enjoy food at all. Slowly, as I started to put my life back into balance, I began to enjoy my life again (along with food), and began making my own yogurt, bread, tortillas and all that good stuff. I truly felt like I was flourishing. I love to flourish by the way. That's how I feel when I am truly happy; like I am flourishing. So then I had to go and get pregnant again, and the flourishing thing has gone out the window, but now I am creeping out of the sick-pregnant lady stage/tired all the time to a lesser degree of flourishment, but flourishing all the same. I've actually been thinking a lot about the word of wisdom (our church's dietary guidelines) and trying to figure out exactly how I can live them to the fullest extent. I think it is a real journey, and different for each person. Sometimes I feel like some people have had extreme (or what I considered at the time to be extreme, but I actually feel like I understand now) views, and they try to force them on me, but as I've slowly pondered what I think I should do, I've decided to make some changes to my diet, and have actually had so much fun over the last couple of months trying some new things!

First of all let me state: If I want cook out, I am getting cook out. If I want a burger, I will get one, but I am trying to consume less meat over all. I decided to limit our menu plan to one week night entree including meat per week about six weeks ago, and am proud to say, I have stuck to it (with a lot of help from pinterest!). I think it is actually a lot easier to cook without meat because it just takes less time and one less step. I am so shocked that after 28 years of being a regular meat eater, I have not missed it in our meals at all. That is not to say I only eat meat at one meal per week. Erick will sometimes bring home lunch that has meat, or we'll make a big meal with meat for our one night and it ends up making tons of leftovers that I eat for lunch for a few days, so it's definitely less meat, but meat still ends up in my diet more than one time a week most weeks. Either way, I am not sure if I want to eliminate it totally or not. I am comfortable with this, and will continue this way as long as I feel that way. The neatest thing has been trying new things and in new combinations. Just yesterday, I made my favorite curry and instead of chicken, I used cashews. It was DELICIOUS. I mean, I wanted to cry it was soooooo good. My kids gobbled it up too. Also, I have finally learned how to make pizza! I realized pizza is a super easy way to have a meatless meal ( and seriously, I don't really count the one and a half pieces of pepperoni that end up on my slice as being our "meat meal" of the week...I said I'm not strict!). I tried this recipe for pizza crust and am now in love. My kids think I'm a rock star now that I can make tasty pizza. I hear things like "Mom! This is the best night Evarrrrrrr!" when I make pizza. So without further adieu, I am going to share my curry recipe, and then my pizza topping favorites, so maybe you can enjoy the bliss that is this deliciousness (if you are pregnant, you will probably enjoy this even more):

Mango Cashew Curry

1 can coconut milk
1 (or two) mangoes
2 potatoes cooked and sliced (optional)
1 cup frozen green beans thawed (this is how we use all of our green beans we freeze from our garden)
1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped cashews
1-2 tsp red curry paste or other curry paste of your choice
1 tsp salt

Your favorite rice

First, get the rice going. If you are lucky like me, your rice cooker has a steam basket, so I peel and chop my potatoes and put them in the basket, and when the rice is done, my potatoes are as well

Next, peel your mango and cut all the fruit off the big pit/seed thing. Pour coconut milk into blender and then add your mango. Puree this. I like mine chunky so I can get nice chunks of mango, but if you don't like a lot of texture, puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a pan, then simply add green beans, cut up, cooked potatoes, and cashews, and salt. IF YOU HAVE KIDS, go ahead and dish theirs up before you add the curry unless they just love curry. The curry is pretty spicy and mine won't eat it, but they love the sauce without it. Okay, now add your curry.

Serve over your favorite rice (I choose jasmine for this dish) and then top with coconut and if you have a second mango you can slice it up and add to the top for added flavor. I am unfortunately allergic to fresh mango and don't do this, but can eat it when cooked! Store any leftovers separate from the rice (if you combine them the rice will kind of soak it's gross, just trust me), and it is honestly better the next day!

Pizza awesomeness~

These are the three pizza combos I did after following this recipe pretty much exactly for the crust. Just a tip to people that don't love making their own bread, the dough is ready when it has JUST reached the point of when you touch it, it doesn't stick to your finger, but bounces back. It should not be super sticky! So as soon as you get to that point, you are done! Don't add any more flour! Okay, her recipe says it makes two pizzas, well the only stone at target was pretty small, so I make three pizzas. Here is what I did tonight:

1: Plain jane pepperoni
-pizza sauce
-mozzarella cheese

cook for 10 minutes on my stone that has been waiting for me in a 500 degree oven. Perfect.

2: Garden veggie
-about two TBL basil pesto-spread thin layer over dough
-then top with mozzarella cheese
-I cut up a tomato, about four mushrooms, and a small zuccini, tossed them in a bowl with a little olive oil and salt and poured it over the cheese.

same baking instructions as above.

3: Baked potato pizza
-When I was a teenager we would sometimes order pizza from a gourmet pizza place and this was my favorite. It is now out of business, but I never forgot it, and tonight, I finally recreated it! It was delicious!!!!

-alfredo sauce-I have had a jar of this stuff in my pantry for who knows how long because I think it tastes gross on pasta, but would be just the right thing for this pizza. I was right. You could use home made if you really want to be a super star though. Spread liberally over pizza dough.
-sliced cooked potato. I just boiled a small pot of water and cooked three small potatoes, for 15 minutes, then halved them, then sliced them. I put a layer on over the alfredo sauce. How many you use will be a matter of taste. I put a lot, but definitely left space in between each one.
-cheddar cheese: Apply liberally over the potatoes!
-bacon!!! I buy precooked bacon from sams club (not bacos! But actual precooked, crumbled bacon). Sprinkle liberally over cheese. If you have to, you can cook some bacon, chop it, and sprinkle that--do what you have to do!

Now, bake on the 500 degree stone for 10 minutes and you're good to go! Serve with sour cream for dipping! I LOVED all three of these pizzas-especially the potato one. The only problem I ran into was getting the pizza from my preperation area to the actual scalding hot stone. The recipe I used suggested using corn meal, but that did not go so well for me. I tried plenty of flour and a big spatula to get it to slide and that worked okay, but was still a little scary, so anyone with any tips, please share! And, if I were a real blogger I would have taken pictures. But I am not, so just use your imagination, and I'll try and remember for next time!