Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Caedon!

Happy 2nd Birthday to our little man...

who entered this world just after the stroke of midnight, a whopping 9 pounds, 15 ounces...

and is still just as cute as can be!

To the little boy who loves anything even remotely related to tractors, trucks, motorcycles, or trains, who never grows tired of seeing cows and horses that are on literally every road in Lancaster County, who loves to wrestle and tumble one minute and climb into Mama's lap and snuggle the next minute, who has no fear AT ALL...

To the little boy who stole a piece of our hearts from the get-go...


We love you through and through!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

6 Months

Six months ago today, our third baby went to be with Jesus...and I don't think we have ever been the same since.

It's really quite shocking to think that it has already been six months. Really? Has it really been half a year since we met our son and let him go, all in the same day? Some days it feels like so long ago, and other days I'm certain that it was only last week.

For the most part, I'd have to say that we are doing okay. After looking back at a journal entry from the end of January, I realize that we have healed a lot in six months. The insanely deep pain in my words back then isn't so deep and bitter now. But, I must say...Josiah is still constantly on my mind, almost every hour of every day.

We have the little reminders around the house: pictures on the wall, a photo album, clothing, blankets, and siblings who also miss their baby brother. I have a gorgeous necklace around my neck almost every day, engraved with the words "Sweet Josiah" on the back, given to me by some of the most beautiful, supportive women I know. We have two young fruit trees planted in our back yard, in honor of the boy who probably would have downed a bowl of fruit in no time, just like his older brother. And we have friends galore with babies here, there, and on their way...all of whom make me think of how my youngest would have grown up with them.

Having all of these reminders is truly helpful for us, and beautiful and honoring to Josiah...I'd want it no other way. It's just that on days like today, a milestone of sorts, it's so hard to think how different our lives would be if we had a 6-month-old in with the mix. Would life be as crazy busy and hectic, involving full-time work and juggling an overwhelming schedule on some days? Or would things be a bit slower, knowing that a baby demands eating every 2-3 hours and that my life would revolve around his feeding/sleeping/pooping pattern and probably the event schedule at the library?

Since we know we can't live in the past...we can't look at the "what if's" or "would have, could have, should have's"...since life rolls on and we can't change what happened six months ago that rocked our world to the core...we go on, remembering Josiah's life in the womb, the plans we had made, and the fact that he's playing up in Heaven and we get to see him again soon. Yeah, things are most definitely still painful at times...but in the end, we have Hope.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tasty Tuesday (late and early): Healthy Snacks to Go!

Here's a Tasty Tuesday that will need to count for two weeks, since I'm late on last week and early on this week. Oh,'s my blog, so I call the shots.


Many of you know of my effort to eat healthful foods and to feed my family properly. We're trying to buy less pre-packaged and processed foods, replacing them with homemade versions. Not the easiest thing to do, especially if a certain husband needs his lunch and snacks packed each day and there aren't a ton of recipes out there to make great-tasting snacks that replicate the common snack foods we find at the grocery store.

However, my friend, Sarah, introduced me to a H.U.G.E. help! Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship wrote an eBook, Healthy Snacks to Go, that has over 20 incredible recipes for delicious snacks that can easily be packed into a lunch. And guess what? I had the opportunity to try out a few recipes. Here is my all-time favorite from her eBook:

Kitchen Stewardship Granola Bars with Peanut Butter

(I must warn you: I made a batch of these, my kids love them, and I CANNOT stop eating them!)

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. natural peanut butter
1 c. whole wheat or spelt flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. honey
2 c. mini chocolate chips

Lightly grease a 9x13 glass pan. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the butters and honey until melted and thoroughly combined. Allow the mixture to cool. Mix remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a large bowl. Pour liquid into the bowl and beat thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips my hand. Press mixture firmly into the pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. (The bars do not have to look or feel "done" but will be quite moist.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut into bars. Let the bars cool completely in the pan before removing and serving. Store at room temperature or freeze for longer freshness.

Seriously, these bars remind me of Quaker Oatmeal bars!
I have already made a version of her Powerbars (she has TONS of variations!), and my next try will be the Wheat Thin Style Crackers.
Care to have her eBook? Well, Katie so graciously set up a link so you guys can read about and buy the book. For only $6.95, I believe it's well worth it!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Dress

I'm realizing more and more that I'm rather blessed to have some really amazingly talented friends in my life. Some live within driving distance, while others are just a phone call away. But all enjoying sharing their God-given talents with others, in a variety of ways.

There's Amanda, who can personalize things with her unique handwriting. (At least she used to do this in years past...and I'm sure she hasn't lost her touch!)

Then there's Bobbi, who knows her way around a sewing machine like no one else. This dear girl is setting aside her much-needed vacation time this summer and exhibiting her unbelievable amount of patience to teach me how to use my machine properly. (Notice I said properly...not my typical "shove in the fabric and wonder why it won't work" method.)

And we have Aimee, who can turn a 99-cent Goodwill item (or even a piece of furniture by the side of the road) into a work of art. She's got a knack for much so that people are after her techniques!

Those are just a few of the women in my life who can do extraordinary things! From visionaries to organizational gurus, the amount of skill/talent is endless!

So, a few weeks ago, I called upon the sewing machine skills of Bobbi and decided to copy the make-your-own-stuff Aimee, and the result was this:

A new dress for Danae!

Aimee made a dress for her daughter and had the tutorial on her blog. I wanted to try my hand at it, and after three hours of Bobbi's teaching, time, and (again) patience, we ended up with a cute summery dress for my girl. We didn't follow the directions regarding using ribbon (gasp!) but instead decided to make the ties out of the same fabric as the dress. It's flowy, it can be used next summer, and it's pink...yup, my girl loves it! :o)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Zucchini Muffins

You might notice a trend with my Tasty Tuesdays: zucchini.

This year's garden seems to be mass-producing zucchini. Maybe it's the soil, because our neighbors have some massive-sized yellow zucchini. As in, almost the length of my leg.

We are trading zucchini for variety, but let's be honest...they all taste the same!

So, now it's time to just gather zucchini recipes and get a-cookin'...or, in this case, a-bakin'.

Zucchini Muffins

(They're not that bad for you, so go ahead and eat 2 or 3 with your morning coffee. That's what I do.) ;o)

1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. honey (raw or regular)
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
Preheat oven to 400. Spray 12-cup muffin pan, or line with 12 muffins paper-thingys.

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix remaining ingredients in another bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix just until combined.

Spoon batter into the 12muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove and allow the muffins to cool on a wire rack. Or eat right away, preferably with a cup o' joe.

(missing bite courtesy of my youngest little turkey)

Friday, July 9, 2010

From Haircuts to Princesses

Life has been full these days.

Busy, full, crazy...but it's life!

Here is a taste of what we've been up to the past seven days:

Summer haircuts (four inches from one, just a trim for the other)...

followed by some of this...

sprinkled with a little of this...

which caused my little man to do this.

He kept saying, "Loud, Mama...LOUD!" Nope, not a fan of fireworks.

Finding my two kiddos dressed as princesses preeetty much rounded out the past week.

I'm still not sure how Danae coerced Caedon into that dress...fruit snacks may have played a role. And I totally foresee that picture somehow being blown up and put on a poster when he's older. He will so love his sister for that.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tasty Tuesday (super late): Fried Zucchini

Again, bad blogger. Bad Blogger.

I could name any number of reasons, really, for neglecting to write. Busyness. Work. Life events. Beautiful weather. :o) But I do notice that writing on here helps me...getting out the things that are stuck in my head seems to improve my mood. So, I'll work on it!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: zucchini.

We have a larger-than-we-have-ever-had garden this year, and the zucchini and tomatoes are TAKING OFF! I went over this morning to check on it...and picked two very-ready zucchini.

First produce of the year!

So what's part of our dinner tonight? Fried Zucchini, recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.

I know, I know. How in the world is fried zucchini a somewhat healthful thing to eat? Well, it's a vegetable..low in fat...good source of protein, Vitamin C, and several other vitamins and minerals. And don't let the word "fried" fool you. These are pan-fried in olive oil, not deep-fried in another horrible-for-you oil. So, I let this one go for a sometimes food. Just like Cookie Monster and his cookies.

Fried Zucchini
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 medium zucchini (or the equivalent), cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.

Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, the Panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, dip the zucchini in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the zucchini in the Panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.

When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.

Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve.

Hopefully these two silly kids won't mind that I cut up their new toys.