Saturday, April 23, 2016

Adventures with Waffles

This week, we began a new book. Who am I kidding? We began about twenty new books, except most of them were picture books and quickly finished. {I love our library!}
Three of them were chapter books from Sonlight's kindergarten book list...I know Sonlight doesn't really want you to just place holds at the library for all their books, but hey, it's a lot cheaper. And the books are great.
So... Adventures with Waffles.
With a title like this, I didn't have ANY idea what to expect, but we were quickly enthralled. A boy and girl duo get into all kinds of imaginative scrapes, similar to Anne of Green Gables - except set in modern times in Norway.
I was charmed with the physical descriptions of the fjords and the mountains, and honestly, it made me want some heart-shaped waffles.

I've never had heart shaped waffles, but it seems they are quite common-place in Norway and I'm positive they must be delicious.

So positive, in fact, that I've ordered a heart shaped waffle maker!
Do you know, in these nearly 7 years we've been married, we've never owned a waffle maker? We were thrilled when Kroger started carrying Gluten Free frozen waffles -- because we were raised on Eggo Waffles (Leggo my Eggo!), but those are the only ones we've had. NO HOMEMADE WAFFLES AT. ALL. Isn't that a shame? I know it is.
But I have this idea that with my heart-shaped waffle maker, I'll be able to whip up such a lovely and delicious breakfast, and with greater ease than perhaps homemade donuts -- which I also love, but baking is a real struggle for me right now. My three helpers and conversationalists make it difficult to think And read a recipe And give orders about what's to be done. But waffles, I think I can manage.

Maybe I ought to tell the family it's my mother's day gift? ;)
That would be fine and dandy with me.


I ordered myself some red saltwater sandals, finally! I've been eying them since last summer. I picked them up from the shoe store this morning. It's so nice to have a pair of shoes that I trust will travel many miles with me. And Hattie felt she would love it if I bought her some too, so we're twinkies - save hers are silver.
{I never heard anyone call two matching people twinkies until I moved to MS, maybe it's a regional thing, but I'll carry it forward. ;)}
I was going to look for some saltwaters for Adele too, but they only had white in her size, and she already has some white sandals, so we got her some glittery silvery crocs -- they're like the jelly sandals we used to wear as kids, but so much more comfortable. She's happy with them, and with her taste in fashion - I consider this a miracle, she's so hard to judge.


Asa and his family were down for a visit last week. We had a ball spending a few days with them, and it's been so funny to listen to how much more Elijah is talking and jabbering. The girls used to do the same when we lived out of state, they come home with words they'd never said before....all from a visit with cousins.
Unfortunately, we must have also shared germs while they were here. We've been battling fevers and congestion this week. Hopefully, we've just about run our course for this round of sickness. The more children you have the longer it takes to cycle through a bug like this and I certainly hope it didn't take hold in Asa's family and his six children - for that might take 2 or 3 weeks to run its course.

Monday, April 4, 2016

One week

So, it's been a full week since I began Elijah's sleep training process. And, no, I can't exclaim from the rooftops that he's sleeping through the night in his own bed in his own room. But then again, I wasn't expecting, I haven't moved his crib from beside my bed. I'm all about baby steps remember.
{Speaking of baby steps, my baby IS stepping. He thinks he's all grown up now that he can walk across the room. Be still my heart. }
So, naps: he is doing SO great. Naps in his crib, and he's learning to fall asleep there by himself. I'm stoked that he doesn't HAVE to nurse to sleep. And speaking of nursing, I've been letting him nurse at night much less often, to which he hasn't put up much resistance. We're changing habits here, people. In January and February, he had gotten into an awful habit of waking a dozen times a night. I'm not even kidding. And he would only nurse back to sleep. Talk about being a "Mombie." Now, he's down to nursing maybe twice a night, and taking his paci when he wakes otherwise. He's starting the night in his crib, too. I'm very hopeful that as he gets accustomed to sleeping longer, he's be just as comfortable in his crib as in our bed.
Things are going well. I'm encouraged.
Thank you, LORD!

The next phase of this juggling act is getting down to business about potty training Adele.
{I hate potty trainging. Really. Can I outsource this job?}
And today we began the "we're only going to wear panties and you get to clean up your messes" phase. I hope she takes to this like a duck to water. I know consistency is the key, and I've been struggling to give our girl that. Seems like whenever we've decided to start getting serious about training her, someone falls ill and it seems impossible for me to have the follow-through to make sure she's going potty....I guess it's one of the failures of survival mode. Ho-hum. She's got a strong will and determination, and maybe maybe maybe she'll WANT to make this happen --- and get her celebratory lunch with Granana and new panties.
Here's hoping!

Happy Monday. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Looking forward to celebrating recovery....

I haven't had a full night's sleep since...I can't remember when...probably since my 2nd trimester with Elijah, over a year ago.
The bags under my eyes are pretty much triple-deckers. You know it's bad when your blush and your eye concealer are applied in the same place.

But I was inspired by a facebook post the other day, in which the mama of a little boy very close to Elijah's age, had moved the baby into his own room, and while it took a week - he finally slept through the night!
Those kind of posts almost make me cry because I UNDERSTAND the TRIUMPH.
...Because you really do feel like you're coming out of hibernation when you start sleeping like a regular person again.

And you know what? I'm ready!
I'm ready to be productive and energetic instead of just getting by. So yesterday began Elijah's sleep training.
I'm not a die-hard 'cry it out' parent. At all.
I like to ease into things, small changes and adjustments. For us this looks like starting with naps; yes, I'll nurse him to sleep and hold him till he's pretty relaxed, and then put him in his crib. Sometimes, he wants to raise a temper, but usually he's tired enough to voice a protest and then drift to sleep. {I just can't deal with putting him in his bed to cry until he's asleep, it's too much for me.}
Nights are another adjustment. Number one on the list is not letting him nurse as often, and thus getting used to sleeping longer stretches. I think even from our small changes during the day, he slept better during the night than he has in a while.
Baby steps. We will get this!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


We finished our play doings. Part of me says, "Hallelujah" and the other part says, "what time is play practice??"

SCC (Shoal Creek Co-op) really pulled Ants'Hillvania together...admittedly, it was iffy for a while, but they did great on show night.

You can watch the whole production on youtube here.

So this afternoon, I sat down with my planning notebook and thought about this play.
It's easy for me to think that the whole thing was entirely too much to do with pre-schoolers; too exhausting, too much time away from home, too much to expect my littles to handle....but then I thought about the benefits. It's no small deal for preschoolers to be able to learn an entire play, but to know when to move, to sing and dance, and to gain confidence on stage - it was worth it.
So worth it.

Plus we benefited from extra fellowship time with other mamas and kids.

Please remind me of this when the next play comes up, because my first reaction will probably be to shake my head, "Oh no, we're not ready to that again yet," and I'll need to stifle that.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Thoughts on today

  • brought to you by bullets...because I haven't had time for cohesive thoughts.
  • Sometime late last night or early this morning I got to thinking about my internet usage, about times when I want to shut-down my brain a while and numbly scroll through facebook, about what my children will remember about this stage when they're grown. I want to be present with my children. I want to cherish their fleeting toddler days - however hard. It's easy to live in the virtual reality of social media and be aggravated by the real life happening at your feet. Maybe if I hadn't been so absorbed in the newsfeed, I could have circumvented the aggravation with the littles. It's worth it to do hard things. It's the only way to grow. Short story long: I've decided to attempt to limit my internet time to when my children are asleep (Right now!). I first thought I'd proclaim a fast altogether, but I know I need to check my email now and then, and reply to fb messages, so - realistically - I think I can manage having after bedtime as my few minutes to catch up on what's going on in the world.  
  • Let me just say: red. curls. Oh my, and help me rhonda - this little boy has enlarged my heart. Love is an amazing thing. With each new baby, I've loved them so much it hurt, and as they grow, I just get all the more endeared to them. It's hard to believe, but this love multiplies exponentially.
  • I bought some fresh bedding today! It's been 5+ years since we bought new full/queen size comforters, and I was ready for a change. I'd been searching online and looking at prices and getting a little discouraged, but we went to Ohco (it's a strange factory outlet vendor of fabric, rugs, mattresses, and today - bedding) and were blessed to a quilt and a comforter set for under $70. I was a little hesitant about paying that much, but after we got home I noticed the Kohl's price tags...those things would have cost me $380 at the store!!! Thank you, Lord!! I love getting a great deal; it really helps me enjoy the purchase thoroughly. So I'm sure I'll sleep well under these covers. :)
  • The forecast for this coming week says it'll be 75-80 degrees here. I feel a "Hallelujah! Come on Spring!" to be appropriate.
Happy Saturday, y'all!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Instant Coffee

I keep instant coffee in my pantry. Perhaps it's adding insult to injury to tell you it's decaf, too. But as I'm the only {occasional} coffee drinker in our home, sometimes it's too much to get the coffee pot out and sometimes the full caffeine of regular beans makes me all kind of jittery and sweaty and keeps me from sleeping at night -- even when the cup of joe was had at 8am. It's not always worth it.

But the real reason for the instant coffee is nostalgia.

My Granny and Grandaddy are the only people I have ever known who would drink instant coffee quite happily and regularly. The aroma shouts breakfasts at their house - perhaps accompanied with poptarts or doughnuts (we always felt like we were eating well at their house, always the best snacks like sugar wafers and little cups of Blue Bell ice cream). Instant coffee to go along with rounds of Skip-Bo or less often Rummikub or Trianamos, and perhaps a bite size 3 Musketeer midway through the game.
Grandaddy always said Granny would beat him again. He liked to tease from the underdog position, and then would all of the sudden win the game while you weren't looking. Not always, of course, for Skip-bo was one of those games that didn't require any skill and it was just a matter of how the cards fell out. We all stood just as good a chance at winning as the most experienced players, and play we did.

Jolly games around their kitchen table make up a large part of my memories at my grandparent's home. And instant coffee is how it smells.

{I might add that they have recently gotten a Keurig, and are not drinking instant anymore. I don't know what to do with this information, and am choosing to ignore it for all intents and purposes. }

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

{Sycamore Bakes} Honey Oat Bread and a fresh smoothie

The last few weeks (months, maybe), I've had a craving for some hearty brown bread. The girls and I read Heidi in early January, and since then some nice whole-grain, dark bread has been on my mind. I really haven't felt like even attempting to make bread for several weeks {baby-induced exhaustion!}, but yesterday we found a recipe that seemed to fit the bill and piled into the kitchen. I say, "piled" because the effort took place with a baby on my hip and children on chairs trying to each get plenty of opportunity to add ingredients and stir. All the while the constant phrase, "what am I supposed to do next" running through my foggy mind.
It wasn't pretty, but we did it. I couldn't even find my loaf pan - almost laughable, I tell you.

Our recipe for Gluten Free Honey Oat Bread came from Yammie's Gluten Freedom. I so appreciate the people out there who develop great recipes, because I haven't got time for all that!

Gluten-free Honey Oat Bread 

3 1/3 cups oat flour (or 4 cups of gluten-free oats plus more for the top)
2 scant tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup corn starch (or tapioca flour)
1/2 cup rice flour (white or sweet white rice flour. Brown rice would probably work to but I haven't tried that yet)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs

If you're using whole oats, blend them in the food processor until they're pretty fine (as fine as you can get them). Meanwhile combine the yeast and water and let sit for a few minutes. Add the oil, honey, starch, flour, xanthan gum, and oats and beat until combined. Add the salt, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat for a few minutes until fluffy. Pour into a well greased 10 inch loaf pan and allow to rise for about 45 minutes until doubled. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle the top of the risen loaf with some more oats and cut a few slits in the top with a serrated knife. Bake for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.
I love using oat flour because, hello- economical! I also used brown rice flour and was short of honey so I used molasses for the majority of the sweetener.

Ours turned out great. Hearty and wholesome tasting, although perhaps a smidge too sweet. Next time I might add a little more salt to the dough.

I've also had an idea for a smoothie growing in my mind lately. I haven't been on a smoothie kick, and so didn't have too many ingredients to choose from...but gathering what was on hand, it turned out very nice with a bit of a zing! :)
We put a few handfuls of spinach in the blender along with a little hunk of fresh, peeled ginger, and some cilantro leaves - along with a little lemon juice and some coconut milk to blend thoroughly. Then we dumped some frozen blueberries and maple syrup. Blend till smooth.

I get weary of the fruit & veg smoothies, and I really like the heightened flavor with ginger and cilantro.
I especially like getting spinach into Adele who isn't inclined to eat it, ever.

On a side note, dear Emery hung curtains in our room this weekend, and they look so nice. It feels like we have a cozy, luxurious room now. Love it! Thanks to Susanna for alerting me to the sale at Target on curtain panels! <3

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A rare moment.

Emery just walked out the door with all three children. They're headed to the hardwork store (the hardware store, that is). Of course, he at first said he'd just go by himself and I volunteered him a clingy baby - who was making it impossible to chop an onion - and then the cascades of "I want to go!" And now they are gone.

I am by myself.

Whoa. Is this the twilight zone?

What should I do?
Eat chocolate? Take a bath? Paint my toenails? -- that's a good one! I've been trying to get my toes painted for MONTHS. Why is it so hard? (because of the people, of course).

Maybe I'll just savor the silence.
I could wash the dishes, but where's the fun in that?

Perhaps if I had more moments like this, I'd be a more rested, productive mama. But I'd rather take my silent moments at night time and soak up some sleep! That sleep thing is the main reason I'm not over-zealous nor over-productive.

Last night was even less sleep filled than usual. I lay there thinking and thinking. The homeschoolers are performing a play next month, "Ants'Hillvania". It's thoroughly cute, and we mothers - aka Costume Mistresses -had been trying to think up a good way to make a flower petal headdress for our little flowers.
So last night, I just thought and thought about how to make these headdresses, and by this morning I was certain that I knew how to do it and WANTED to I went off to Michael's this morning for the deco mesh and ribbon (and a few extras in the buggy because I had ideas). The flower petals are cute and fluffy -- but kind of itchy, I'm really not sure how well it'll fly. But I did it, regardless of whether they get used or not. And then those "extras" turned into my first deco mesh wreath and door monogram -- whoop! whoop!

I am not super crafty. But I do like to add beauty (on a budget), and to make some little details of this house myself enamors me all the more to this home of ours. 


Thursday, February 11, 2016


I used to be a "planner."
You might say I'm a recovering planner. Life felt secure if I knew what was going on and when and for how long and what would be next. Which is pretty similar to saying, I felt calm and confident if I was in control. And God has had some things to teach me about who is really piloting the ship, especially in the last ten years.
So while it's been frustrating and agonizing to let go of those reins, it has also been very freeing to simply trust the Lord to take care of you.
He loves his children! He's going to take care of them!

Anyway, my former self would have had things planned. And my current self, oh boy, I fly by the seat of my pants, as it were. Perhaps it's due to that survival mode I've been talking about recently, but we just take things as they come and run with them.

{I KNOW I ought to plan more, and I have been working on getting things a little more organized, like in the meal planning department...but other areas are free and easy....}

Yesterday, we started potty training Adele. Yes, doing this was one of my New Year's goals, but I didn't expect to start before her birthday. She went on the potty before her bath, and we've just ran with it, setting the potty timer and having a little container of potty prizes. Adele is doing great, really and truly, and it's been more encouraging than discouraging, but I still can't believe we're doing this right now. My brain felt like complete sludge yesterday. I was SO tired. I do feel better today, but I know one thing, if I had been "planning" to start her on the potty, I wouldn't have. "Nope, not today. No way on earth I can train her today," I would have said - and probably not gotten around to it for several more weeks.

It's not just potty training. It's play-dates or inviting dinner guests -- I usually don't have anything scheduled until the day of. And I don't mind life this way. I do love having someone scheduled to come over, and having time for more thorough clean-up (my house needs us to have guests every so often!), but those are much more rare events.

I'm thankful God has been working on me. I'm thankful to be okay with 'holding on loosely' and to enjoy the spontaneity that characterizes our life.
I love this life.

PS: today Hattie was playing "birthday party" in which she didn't receive the kind of cake she wanted (blueberry instead of peppermint), and then she went to lament this in her room, quite loudly. When she came out all blotchy-faced, she said she was just crying for pretend, and everything was really alright.
I think she'll do pretty well in the upcoming play{Ants'Hillvania}. She's got the drama.
PPS: My hands are so dry, if I had any sanding to do, I wouldn't need sand paper. Come on Spring.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Snowed in

I'm sure there are some people snowed in now. We aren't included, thankfully. It would be pandemonium in this part of the country if anything in the realm of needing snow-plows occurred. We are not prepared for that kind of event!

But we are delighted to have gotten to witness a few flurries today. You wouldn't know it by looking out now, but we did watch the snow fall for a few minutes, and as per tradition, we made our hot chocolate.  :)

Adele still has some residual chocolate on her forehead. I never cease to be amazed at how she gets food on her forehead. You would think it would be altogether too far from her mouth, but no.


I've been thinking about balance and survival mode a good bit in recent weeks. I have a negative connotation associated with survival mode...because I'm a perfectionist in some regards, and expect too much of myself. But I've decided to embrace survival mode. I AM HAPPY TO BE SURVIVING. I can get the basics taken care of at home, and I can't handle adding anything else in right now. Someday all my littles won't be under five years old. Someday I'll be sleeping like a regular person rather than a mombie, but not today.
I am not going to feel like I'm failing because things are being left undone at the end of the day.
I am not going to stress over toys in the floor.
I AM going to enjoy spending time with my children. These days are too fleeting to spend them beating myself up (or comparing myself to other moms who seem to have their act blissfully together).
These days are a gift.
Thank you, Lord, for my messy house and happy, healthy children.