Monday, June 30, 2008

Baby Wearing Collection Contest

I loved wearing Sim, have enjoyed wearing my nephew, and am looking forward to wearing our much awaited and prayed for newest bundle/s of joy. So here's to hoping I win! LOL
Win the Essential Babywearing Stash from Along for the Ride (one Beco Butterfly, one Hotsling baby pouch, one BabyHawk Mei Tai, one Zolowear Ring Sling, and one Gypsy Mama Wrap)

BumGenius Contest

With Simeon, I had contemplated doing cloth diapers. With this baby, we are planning on using cloth. For the most part, I have sewed some prefolds, as well as some pocket diapers, but I am hoping to try the Bum Genius diapers, as I've heard WONDERFUL things about them.

Win a Bum Genius 3.0 Starter Kit from Nature's Child - Wholesome Goods for Mothers and Babies

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Divine Appointments

It has been a long time, okay, a VERY long time, since I have felt like I connected with friends in my here and now life. Often, I share my passion about the world's orphans, my desire to do more, my sense of injustice at the poverty in this world...I want to do something about it...well...for the most part, people kind of smile and nod, and then turn the other way. There is nothing wrong with them, and there is nothing wrong with me...God has just given us a different perspective/mission/passion, about who we are and what we are supposed to do in this world.
Friday morning, I had two women that I met this year in my Mom's group at church over. We are doing a weekly Biblestudy over the summer. Well, it was just wonderful. God has placed me with two women who get what I'm talking about. Who have similar passions, and who are committed to praying and encouraging, challenging and just exploring these issues together. I am SO thankful for them. I am looking forward to seeing where God leads us, and am just overwhelmed with God's faithfulness, as I take steps out of my comfort zone.

Strawberry Picking...

Last week we went strawberry picking with the kids. The berries were great and fresh, but I decided that we needed to go back this weekend so I could make jam. That's exactly what we did today after church. We headed over to the farm and picked berries. There was just one little problem...we OVERPICKED! Rich misunderstood just how much I needed, and I just assumed that he wanted lots of berries. Needless to say, the day has been full with making strawberry jam, rhubarb strawberry jam, dry packing some sliced strawberries for freezing, and now we have a nice amount of strawberries left to eat fresh. LOL...I'm looking forward to this winter when I can have homemade jam, look out the snowy window and think of the warm sunshine and fresh smell of strawberries at the farm....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Treats

Last Saturday, we went strawberry picking. It was a nice morning. As we were sitting on the porch swing, relaxing, I mentionned wanting to make homemade strawberry ice cream. The only problem is, we don't have an ice cream maker. I then remembered an episode of Zoom, the kids show, where they made ice cream in freezer bags. Well, I found the recipe online, this is the one I used It worked fairly well. Rich and I kept ours simple and made the vanilla. Trish and Sim experimented. Trisha made cookies and cream, and Sim made strawberry cookies and cream. The only thing I would do different the next time, is that I would add my add ins before shaking in the bag. That way the ice cream would be totally ready to eat right away. All in all, it was a fun time. Trish is even wanting to make some with one of her friends easy and inexpensive activity, that ends with a yummy treat!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've Been wanting...

to blog, but about what. I was telling a friend yesterday that my news isn't the happiest news around. Between getting my wisdom teeth out, dealing with a full blown outbreak of ezcema, dry socket and now a nasty cold, this would sound more like whinefest 2008 than a blog post. So this morning, as I was wondering what I could possibly blog about, I thought of the blessings amidst the rough times this week:

  • A husband who loves me and is concerned for my wellbeing, he ran out for ice cream when I had first had my teeth out, and hasn't complained that I'm not keeping up with meals or the house.
  • My five year old will actually let me take a nap while he watches a movie in the afternoon, and if he MUST get my attention, he wakes me up with soft kisses and whisperings.
  • My flowers are starting to open up, I have the prettiest yellow rose bud that is starting to open, everyday has been exciting, as I watch its progress...I have some baby blue eyes that have opened, they are the daintiest blue flowers, as well as some annual babies breath, which reminds me of what I think a baby star must look like.
  • One of my tomato plants actually has a flower, and I just cut back a bumper crop of fresh lettuce. Looking forward to eating some homegrown lettuce.
  • I have a God who loves me for who I am, and not what I am, and when I am disappointed in myself, cause I don't measure up to my own standards, I am reminded that my identity is not in even my own image of myself, but in him, I am daughter of God most high, and he loved me so much that he died on the cross for me, and rose again on the third day. I am not simply loved, but am dearly loved. What a comforting and encouraging thought.
  • My five year old caused me to smile, when he showed me that I do in fact have some influence on his language. I hear the New England/Boston accent in him a lot lately, but yesterday, he used "eh" like a good Canadian would!

So, amidst the frustrating moments in the past two weeks, I have been blessed by the small pleasures in life!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Squash Recipes

Here you go Melody (! Some of our favorites. For your pleasure, I normally plant quite a few squash and zucchini plants...this year...only one lonely plant. I'm running out of room, but hoping we may get another few plants in the next few weeks, seeing as its still early in the season here in New England.

Stuffed Squash ( this is my adaptation of a Giada DeLaurentis recipe)

1 small onion 1/3 c Romano cheese
1 large egg 1/4 c Italian Bread Crumbs
3 T ketchup 1 lb ground turkey breast
2 garlic cloves, minced 4 med/lge zucchini or yellow squash
1 tsp salt 1 1/2 c marinara sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a 13x9x2 baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Whisk onion, egg, ketchup, garlic, salt, salt and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the the cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in the turkey. Cover and refrigerate mixtures. Using a melon baller or spoon, carefully scrape out seeds and inner flesh from squash, leaving a shell. Fill the squash halves with the turkey mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the stuffed vegetables. Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and a thermometer in the filling register's 165F, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Sauteed Squash ( My sister's recipe)

Summer Squash or Zucchini
olive oil
freshly ground pepper
fresh garlic, minced
onion, chopped
Parm or Romano cheese( preferrable freshly grated)

Grate squash and then drain as much liquid as possible. I usually place in a clean kitchen towl, and twist until I've removed all liquid. Preheat olive oil in skillet, add squash and onions and garlic. Cook until all are translucent. Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste. I Loved this the first time Sarah made it!

Fried Squash ( My Aunt's Recipe)

Summer Squash or Zucchini
flour seasoned to your taste ( usually just salt and pepper for us)

Cut squash length wise so you have long slices. Preheat a skillet, add enough of your favorite cooking oil to cover the bottom. Dredge the squash slices in flour. Fry until golden on each side.
( I don't make this often, but when I do it is a yummy treat)

Squash Casserole ( My adaptation of Recipe from Parsleygirl on HP)

2 thinly sliced summer squash or zucchini
1/8 c onion
1 T butter
1 egg
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c milk
3 T butter
10-12 saltine crackers, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly grated pepper

Butter or grease a microwaveable dish. ( I use a pyrex glass pie plate.) Sautee squash, onion in first T of butter. Remove from heat and place in large bowl. Add milk, cheese, egg, salt, and pepper. In separate bowl, mix crushed crackers with last 3 T of butter. Mix into the squash mixture. Place in microwaveable bowl. Cook for 15 minutes at 60% power.

Zucchini (or summer squash)Cake
Story behind this recipe is that I have an allergy to carrots, and had been dying for carrot cake. I figured I would substitute the grated carrots with grated zucchini. YUMMY! Besides, Zucchinis are a vegetable right, so the cake must be healthy? lol

4 eggs, 1 tsp baking powder
2 C sugar 1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c veg. oil 1/4 tsp salt
2 C flour 1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon 2 C grated squash

Mix together eggs, sugar and oil. Combine dry ingredients, then beat into egg mixture. Fold in squash. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans.

Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes ( until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on racks.

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Frost cake.

Put first layer in refrigerator until frosting is set before adding the second layer on top. After frosting second layer, return to refrigerator to set again. Store in refrigerator.

Grilled Squash

Squash of choice
olive oil
salt and pepper

Slice squash length wise. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until tender. This is yummy served with balsamic vinegar!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bagel Verdict

DELICIOUS! I finally had one this afternoon. ( dealing with dry socket made it virtually impossible to chew this morning) The cinnamon bagels are a real hit. Rich seemed to like the poppyseed bagels. I can't have one of those for a couple of weeks, due to the wisdom teeth I'll be able to comment on those at a later date. I will definitely be making bagels again. They were easy...they just have a lot of wait time to them. There really is nothing like a fresh bagel, or fresh bread. Store bought is good, but fresh out of the oven, just doesn't compare.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In the Kitchen...

So a couple of weeks ago, I had told my in-laws that I was going to try my hand at making bagels. I just hadn't gotten around to it. My mil asked me about it on the weekend, when I had brought over some baguette's and foccacia, so I decided this week would be the week.

I've made bagels in the past, but it wasn't an authentic bagel recipe. While they were good, they just weren't what I was hoping for. They simply used a basic breaddough recipe and were shaped. While they tasted good, I wanted a "real" bagel.

So, I'm going to go to my trusty book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice for a bagel recipe. I bought this book a couple of years ago, and have loved all but one of the recipes I've tried from it. The author goes into the science of bread making, as well as explaining the hows and whys of technique. So, I'm going to split the recipe, and should be able to get 6 cinnamon raisin and 6 poppyseed bagels out of this batch. Yummy! Hopefully they will turn out. I won't know until tomorrow, cause the recipe is a two day recipe, with an overnight chill in the fridge for the bagels before cooking. Tomorrow will yield some yummy treats, I'm sure.

On the Calendar...

This week looks to be another busy week. Last week we were supposed to have a CPR class on Thursday, but that was cancelled and rescheduled for this Thursday. I'm hoping it works out, and that we have that out of the way.

I'm also waiting for a phone call from one of the local hospitals. They have an infant newborn class we need to take for our adoption, and so I'm hoping we'll be able to get into tomorrow's class. Nothing like last minute planning, eh?

Friday, I get to go see my oral surgeon again. Just a routine post-operative appointment. The area where my wisdom teeth were is not painful at all. But the surrounding teeth and my front teeth are sore. I have read that teeth sometimes shift, and am wondering if that's what is happening. Regardless, the pain is controlled with ice and prescription ibuprofen, so I'll stick with that unless it gets worse.

The end of the month is looking like its going to be busy. My Mom is talking about coming to spend a few days with us at the end of June. I can't wait. Visits with Mom are always nice. We tend to just sit on the porch swing and visit. I'm looking forward to it.

Then, for the fourth my sister is going to come visit with a friend. She wants to go to the zoo ( I've never been to the zoo in Boston, so that should be fun. I'm sure Simeon will have a blast, and he loves his Auntie Sarah.) We will also be going to Sturbridge Village. They will be having special fourth of July events in the evening. I have to buy tickets soon, can't wait for the paycheck to be here! Simeon is really excited about some of the contests they will be holding. He says he wants to participate in the pie eating contest. I'm really really looking forward to that. Since November, we have been reading Simeon the Little House on the Prairie series. There have been a few descriptions of their fourth of July celebrations and fairs. I think this pioneer village visit, with their festivities will be a great way to finish off this book series. We are on the last book, so the timing is IMPECCABLE! Yeah for good literature and for fun field trips that reinforce what we've learned.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bread Making

So I mentionned making sour dough last week. It was yummy oatmeal sourdough bread, but I wanted to make something different. I've been doing some research, and figured out that my sourdough sponge could be used to make french baguette's and foccacia. So today, that was my endeavor...Mmmm, the kitchen smells good and the bread tastes fantastic.

I love working with bread dough. There's just something so satisfying about making bread, of kneading it, watching it rise, shaping it, and then baking it. Something comforting about doing something that so many men and women have done for so long. In some ways, it makes me feel closer to family from years gone by...The bread pans I use to make my buttermilk sandwich bread were passed on to me by my grandmother, and she says she received them from her mother, my great grandmother. I love thinking of both these women, going through the same motions as me, to provide nourishment for their families. The pans are worn, and dented, and even have a couple of wholes in them, and while I do own some newer bread pans, these are the ones I use and cherish most.

I've been reading the Little House on the Prairie series to Simeon. Making bread makes me think of Ma and Laura making bread so regularly. Creates a special bond...peculiar, I know, but satisfying and comforting at the same time. Sure, I could go and buy the bread at the grocery store, it would save me time and energy, but then I wouldn't have the satisfaction of making it, nor the satisfaction of people appreciating my hardwork.

The more I learn about the art of breadmaking, the more I realize that its an art, a science. It's a way for me to exercise some creative energy and at the same time, use my mind for something other than teaching simple arithmatic and reading. It's a challenge, and one that I thoroughly enjoy.

So...if you are ever down this way, let me know, I'll make sure to have some fresh homemade bread, some homemade jam and a nice cup of tea, or lemonade...we can have an old fashioned visit, and appreciate the simple pleasures of yesteryear.

My garden

I've enjoyed checking out my garden over the past few days. Our tomato plants are finally starting to grow, thanks to this long awaited heat wave. My lettuce is doing well, and I can't wait for a fresh salad, once my teeth are fully recovered.My flowers are doing nicely as well. I am so excited, I noticed a bud on my miniature yellow rose bush this afternoon. I'll be checking it every couple of days. I LOVE yellow roses.

I've also discovered some pests. I have some of those BLASTED aphids on my bleeding hearts as well as my butterfly bush and my climbing rose bush. I took care of those with some murphy's soap oil mixed with water. I was glad to see a bunch of spider's by all of those plants though. Eat up spider's, let's get rid of those nasty critter's together.

My delphiniums have been struggling. Something is clipping the leaves, and leaving simply the stems. No one really knows what could be doing it, but anyway. Of my 6 plants, I only had 3 that were looking good. I'm glad to share however, that the other three have more stems and leaves coming. I must look like a real goof talking to my plants...grow little flower, grow, grow!

Alas, I'm hoping for lots of flowers to admire in both the garden, and in a vase on my kitchen table! I LOVE flowers!

Tooth Update...

So the surgery itself went well. I no longer have my four wisdom teeth. Overall, I have little to no pain. My cheeks hurt more than my teeth, and I think that's from the swelling. I hoping that I will be back to eating normal food in a few days. So far, I've managed to eat stuff that will "dissolve/melt" in my mouth, rather than anything I actually have to chew. I'm taking it really easy, for fear of the dreaded dry socket. I've been looking forward to getting the all clear and start running. While I'm enjoying the gum numbing effects of ice cream, I'm dreading what its doing to my hips. LOL

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


My sister sent me an e-mail about a class action suit for overpayments of student loans. In Quebec, the provincial government is the one that takes care of all of that stuff...Anyway, all this to say that I'm getting back almost 320 dollars. It's so exciting to me to see how God provides. It's not like we "need" anything, but with having my wisdom teeth out, it will definitely help. Yeah for unexpected cheques!