Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brotherly Love

As the only brother of 3 girls, Kordell has learned to do things most boys his age can't do.

Like painting fingernails.

He's a good brother.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Friend, the Coconut

I didn't want to muddy up Jade's birthday post with my love for the coconut, but I had to tell you about it! I've always liked coconut but we've reached a new level in our relationship. I made Jade's birthday cake & ice cream almost entirely out of coconut products.

Coconut flour is gluten free and bakes up moist and fluffy with a lovely crumb. Coconut milk is a good substitute for milk in baking and in ice cream! Coconut oil is a good sub for butter and has numerous health benefits!

I found recipes online, and was pleasantly surprised by the outcomes. Here is the cake recipe. I made the yellow cake. The muffins from that page are also very good. I used coconut oil instead of butter, and sucanat instead of sugar. We all agreed that this was the best Jade-safe cake that I've made yet. Not a hint of grainy texture that usually accompanies GF cakes. And look at that moist crumb! It looks just like a real cake.
Don't look too close though... the frosting came from a can...

I made ice cream as well. The recipe is found here. I used honey instead of agave nectar and it worked just as well. The only problem I had was freezing it. I didn't read all the directions for the ice cream machine before I started, so it was my bad. I had read online that adding vodka to ice cream would prevent it from turning into a impenetrable brick in the freezer. What I didn't read was that you shouldn't add the vodka until the ice cream was mostly frozen in the machine. Oopsie! However, it was about soft serve consistency by party time thanks to my deep freezer. Everyone agreed that the ice cream was great! Jade wasn't crazy about it, but might have gone for a fruit flavor instead of the chocolate. I will make it again, probably with strawberries or raspberries next time.

I need to buy more coconut flour! It's expensive, but a little goes a long way. I buy it at the local health food store. The coconut milk is widely available, thank goodness. I found mine at Walmart in the Asian food section. And I got 10 pounds of coconut oil from my food co-op this month at a very good price. Otherwise it can be found at the HFS as well. Go try some coconut! You'll thank me. :-)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jade's Birthday

Last weekend we celebrated Jade's 8th birthday. Can you believe she is 8?! It is amazing to me how far she has come in the past year. Sometimes she's just like any other kid, doing normal kid stuff. It's wonderful!

We asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday. She said she wanted blue cake at Noni's and Culver's for dinner. Okay, she told us what she wanted! That in itself is amazing! Anyway, we did exactly what she asked for on her day. I made a blue cake, chocolate ice cream, and we went to Noni's to celebrate. After the party, we took everyone to Culver's for dinner. She had a great time.

Blowing out 8 candles!

Enjoying her blue cake

Enjoying one of her presents

After the party. What a beautiful young lady!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sticky Situation

I forgot to tell you the best part!

The EKG lady gave Hosanna a sucker. She's never had a sucker before. I was hoping she'd be a little older before getting one, but we were desperate to finish the test!

Poor baby didn't know what it was and didn't really care, so it didn't help us anyway. Hosanna just held on to it (and wiped it all over me) during the EKG ordeal.


By the time we got down to peds, she had discovered the sugary deliciousness. I let her keep the thing. It was a safety pop after all. She had orange sticky goo all over herself by the time we were called back. As we sat answering family history questions, she proceeded to smear her lovely stickiness all up and down my arms. The nurse says with a sigh and a shake of her head, "EKG always gives them suckers!" Thankfully, she dropped it on the floor while I was taking her shirt off. Oh shucks, we had to throw it away.

And the moral of the story is, don't leave home without baby wipes and lots of 'em!

Photo courtesy of Spangler Candy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

White Coat Syndrome

I had to take Hosanna to a pediatric cardiologist today. She had a slight heart murmur at her 9 month check up, and it was slightly louder at her 1 year visit, so her doc referred us to a specialist. Just to be safe.

We got there and checked in, but at the wrong place. They didn't tell us we had to get the EKG done first. So, up the elevator to cardiology for the "simple" test. I wonder how often they do EKG's on 13 month olds. My guess is not too often. The nurse tried first using these little stickers that the wires clip on to. Hosanna is so sensitive. She started to panic before we even got all the stickers on. The little clips kept falling off the stickers and Hosanna was freaking out!! The nurse gave up, took all the stickers off, and left so I could calm her down. Eventually the nurse came back with a helper and a different set of wires. These had the sticker attached to the wire. It took no time at all using those and even though she screamed through it, we finally got the test done. Whew. Why on earth didn't they start with the one piece set-up??

Then we headed back to peds for the actual dr. visit. Hosanna was just starting to warm up when we had to get her weight, height, and blood pressure. She was semi-okay until the blood pressure part. They were supposed to get readings from her leg and arm. The nurse managed to get one reading from her leg, but by that point she was screaming and freaking out again so the reading was really high. No point in even trying the arm. This was not going to work.

Thankfully the doctor was very respectful of my poor sensitive baby and moved very slowly and gently and tried to make Hosanna feel comfortable. That part went a bit better and the doc was able to get a good listen to her heart.

In the end, it was good news. It's a simple heart murmur. Nothing scary. We will recheck it in a couple of years to be absolutely sure, but the doctor was very confident that this was no big deal. Praise the Lord!

However, I don't think Hosanna will ever trust a medical professional again.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

3 Going On 13

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Yeah, I'm going to be in a lot of trouble in a few years.

I guess she gave Grandma quite the ear-full.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Busy Day in the Kitchen

Monday was a day of "firsts" in my kitchen. I had a bit of motivation, so I ran with it.

I decided to try my hand at bread making. I ground up some flour and was ready to go. I used the bread recipe that came with my mill & mixer. I figured it was my best shot. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised!! It was easy, fast, and so delicious!! I think I will stick with that recipe in the future. I made the 4 loaf batch (the recipe went up to 8 loaves) only to discover that I don't have 4 loaf pans that are all the same size. So, I used half the dough for cinnamon rolls. Oh, it was a good day to be at my house. Teagan thought he missed our anniversary or something. lol Here are some pictures of my bread baking:

The Bosch hard at work, mixing the dough for me.

Letting it rise.

Loaves fresh from the oven.

It's better with butter!

The ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls. The pan was half gone before I got a chance to take a picture! My family loved them.

I also decided to make yogurt on Monday. It is something I had been meaning to try for years, but just hadn't. I got a yogurt maker from someone, but it didn't have instructions and I didn't know how to use it, so it has just been sitting in my basement. Then I came across this recipe. Yogurt in the crock pot??? Now, that, I can do! So, I tried it. Followed the directions exactly, only I wrapped it in a second towel to account for my chilly kitchen. The next morning I was greeted with this:

Perfect, thick, creamy yogurt!! I am so excited! The kids love it. Ruby has been eating it plain. We've made smoothies and mixed it with blueberry pudding cake. It's yummy. I will definitely do that again.

And, because I don't want any of you to think that I actually have it all together, here is what my children were up to on Monday...
Kordell & Ruby were parked in front of the computer watching a movie. Jade was at school, so she was no trouble. And...
Hosanna was trashing the place! But, the mess was all worth it. I got a few things done, I tried something new, and I lit a fire of motivation under my rear. It was so satisfying to know I was doing something really great to nourish my family. And now that I know how easy it is, I will be more likely to do it again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Little Character

Hosanna is becoming quite the little character! She has such a fun personality. I can't remember my other kids being quite so funny and charming at such a young age. (They are all funny and charming, but at 13 months?)

She loves the outdoors, so this winter has been really hard for her. She's too little and it's been too cold to play outside. But she tries, oh she tries, to get us to take her outside. She put a scarf on (put it on herself!) and got her coat and brought it to me.

Look at that face. "What do you mean I can't go out? I got my stuff! Oh man, it works for the big kids..."

Then she got some boots. Maybe that'll work.

Well, it made us all smile, but she still had to stay in the house.

So, she figured, if she can't go outside, she may as well have some fun inside. That little goofy girl learned how to climb up on the couch.

Look how proud she is!! She was laughing and giggling and having a good ol' time. And guess what? She can stand on the couch and look outside! She loves to watch out the window, especially at bus time. She thinks Jade's bus is the greatest thing. She giggles and babbles and points excitedly at it. We tell her to go look at the bus and she runs to the window (at 13 months old!!)

In other Hosanna news, we figured out why she had been so grumpy over the holidays. She's cutting 4 molars! At once! That would make anyone crabby. The first one is officially through, so only 3 to go.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Ice glazed trees in my front yard.

I'm back. Sorry to disappear like that. I was trying to think of a really lyrical, fascinating way to say, "I don't feel like doing anything." But I didn't come up with much. Obviously.

The first week back to "normal" was a rude awakening after vacationing and laying low for 2.5 weeks. I felt shell-shocked and exhausted pretty much the whole week. Like I was frozen in time as the world spun around me. (See, that was kind of lyrical!)

This week has been better, and I am slowly gaining traction. I have lots to tell you about! We've had more than one "first" this week, so that has been exciting. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Laying Low

Not much going on here. We are laying low.

The stomach bug has been slowly working it's way through all of the children. Today is Hosanna's turn. I was up half the night with her and she is still not doing great. I know it will pass soon so we are biding our time, keeping up with tylenol, and pushing fluids.

The weather is also keeping us inside. We got an ice storm last night that glazed everything.

I'm bummed that we had to miss church again. Between the weather and illnesses, I haven't been in a month now. I miss it terribly.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not one to make resolutions for the new year. I used to. But I never attained them. Never. I don't have the self-discipline to "lose 50 pounds" or "exercise every day" or "read the Bible in a year". I just don't. I do really well for about a week. Sometimes not even that long. I have decided that it's better not to make these huge overdone resolutions in the first place.

What I am doing this year, instead of resolutions, is some simple goals and a verse for the year.

The verse is recycled, but the Lord led me back to it recently.
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength...
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
~Isaiah 30:15, 18
Pastor Israel made Is. 30:15 our church's verse for the year in 2008. He had a picture that went along with it. It was of a very tiny baby cradled securely in a pair of large hands. I wish I could find the picture because it fit perfectly. Anyway, like I said, I was led back to this passage recently. The verses "in the middle" (16-17) describe Israel depending on their own power and the strength of Egypt to save them. And the Lord chastises them for not depending on HIM. Ah, but then v. 18 comes in! The Lord longs to be gracious and show you compassion! I want the Lord's grace. I want His compassion. I want to rest and wait in Him.

So that is goal #1: Repentance. Rest. Quietness. Trust.

Goal #2: I want to be in the Word more. But more than that, I want to learn to love God's Word! I want to savor it and desire it. A timely post from the Holy Experience blog has inspired me even more to embrace this goal. Read it here.

Goal #3: I want to learn to bake bread. Now that I have the tools, I want to start using them. I want to bake fresh, delicious, nutritious bread for my family with an end goal of giving up store-bought bread completely. It's the only health-related goal on my list, but I feel it is important enough to add.

And that's it. I think these 3 goals will be plenty. I will still be working to maintain the progress I made last year and not lose traction. Hopefully at the end of 2009 I will be able to look back and see new tracks made as I forged ahead toward my goals.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas Camp

Every year around New Years my Dad & Karyl rent a big cabin somewhere so that all of our family can get together for a couple of days. It's becoming quite the tradition. Last weekend was this year's camp-out. We had a GREAT time!! Everyone was there except for Raymond (my nephew). We had a gift exchange, and played lots of games, and just hung out together. I only see my step-sibs once a year, so it was great to see everyone and just catch up on the past year. This year we were at a new camp. It was a lot closer to home, and less driving for everyone. I think we will be back there next year. We are already looking forward to it!