Friday, October 29, 2010

A Day in October

This morning we hit the ground running...um...jogging...okay, a brisk walk.

It's Thursday, school day for Beck, Bible study day for myself and the littler piggies.

I start the morning with a little baking for my event this morning.

 Yep. Fresh from the box. 
I didn't make it from scratch...I would have, except it's really hard to find scratch at the grocery stores these days.
(Shamelessly stole that adorable joke from someone at church.) :)

After I pop the bread in the oven, I rescue little piggy from the cozy confines of his crib.

The dudes hang out on the couch for an early morning snuggle...
 Sweet, sleepy boys.

Throwing together a quick school lunch.
 It still make me a little crazy that I'm packing lunches...wasn't this boy gumming teethers biscuits just a few weeks ago?

Out comes my bread.
Right now I am forgiving myself for using a box mix...
Tastes soooo good, fresh from the oven.

 Time for me to pull on my autumnal boots. Love.

 Beck and Brawny Man get into the junk-mobile.
 (My man is currently in the process of driving his 1993 Corolla into the ground - 
it's not embarrassing...not at all.)
I give out kisses and they head to preschool and work respectively.

Evie, Britt and I buckle in - to church we go.

We arrive at church - and this photo is significant only because moments after I took this, I shut the truck door and it locked.
 Yep, it locked. 
With the keys inside.
News to me: New vehicles lock on their own once all the doors have been closed long enough - 
even if the keys are still in there. 
So now, the keys to my rental car are glaring at me through the window from the seat of the car. 
Mocking me.
Technology, I curse you.

I head into Bible study, keyless.
I'll deal with this later.

Here's one of my best little friends, Mrs. M.
She is less than two weeks from her due date with her second baby.
And she looks like this:
 MmmHmm...
You're probably thinking venomous thoughts about her and her prenatal gloriousness.
Just stop because she's completely charming and a wonderful friend - can't get much better than Mrs. M.

Here are some of the ladies gathered for a morning of fellowship.
 They are beyond sweet. Total gems. 
We have a nice morning together.
There's just something about coming together with a group of godly women.

We pack up all our piglets and caravan to a local pumpkin farm...
 Myself and the piglets bum a ride with a friend...the keys are still locked helplessly inside the truck.

Evie plays in a bin chock full of corn kernels with a buddy.
 I am fighting the urge to wipe every last kernel with my antibacterial WetOnes.
Each yellow bit represents a little universe of germy-ickiness to me.

The car rental place comes through and opens the door to retrieve my estranged key.
Reunited and it feels so good.

 We go home.

After I get the weepy, sleepy babies in bed, I make my first ever batch of homemade chicken stock.
From. Scratch. 
:)
 Am I making up for my disappointing use of a box mix earlier in the day?

Beck comes sauntering in the door after a fun day at preschool - a toothy smile on his face - and tells me all about show and tell and being the line-leader. I have another moment of disbelief, This is my bowling-ball headed little baby? One and the same?!

And this is the point in the day when I start to feel very groggy and just a little "off."
The unfortunate evidence of a night of less-than-restorative sleep.
And, apparently, my camera is feeling the afternoon slump too, because the battery gives one last effort and then conks out.
The big piggies putting together their world map puzzle. 
Thank you, Melissa and Doug for making such fabulous products.

From here on out, my camera is attached to the wall, getting all of the restorative sleep it needs.
Me? Not so lucky.

I feed the family. Read stories. Give baths. Wipe buns. Lotion legs and arms. Comb hair. 
And, finally, tuck into bed.

I am so excited to get a load of your Day in October!
If you documented one of your days this month, please link to your actual post here (not just your blog) and we'll all try to pop over and check you out.



Children's Book Nut

Hi, my name is Mrs. B. and I am an addict.
I have no wish to be rehabilitated.
If its wrong to love children's books this much, I don't wanna be right.

My friend, Rachel is a children's book nut too.
But she is doing something much more lucrative with her obsession - she is selling Usborne books - while I simply sit around using my children as excuses to drown myself in the gorgeous, lilting text and vivid illustrations that make a great book.

Rachel sent me my kids this book...



One of her Usborne favorites.

I promptly planted myself on the couch, with a warm, squirming body on each side of me, and cracked it open to find out how big a million really is.
Let me tell you, it's big.
Such a sweet book with illustrations to delight little eyes.
And the concept of such a large number (ten...then 100...then 1000...then a million) was conveyed in a such an understandable way.

And, in perusing the great, big Usborne Books catalogue, I found that they are the source of one of mine and the kid's favorite books:

With stories about doctor's visits, new baby, going to school and moving this book is a great resource in helping little ones to understand what may happen in a new, possibly stressful life situation.
And - I'm an illustration junkie - the illustrations by Stephen Cartwright are completely charming.


If you're interested in checking out this huge selection of quality children's books, please visit:

If you want some more children's books recommendations, I have another blog where I review our favorite children's literature - we're really focusing on books about Fall right now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Food Network Personality Profile

Confession:
I judge people by which Food Network TV chef they like.

Example:
If you like Paula Deen you have no regard for your health or the size of your hips.
If you like Rachael Ray you have an inordinate tolerance for obnoxious tones of voice and strange terminology.
(think, "yum-o," "sammies" and "EVOO")
If you like Sandra Lee...well, there must be something terribly wrong if you like Sandra Lee...
If you like Giada, Nigella or Ina then you have impeccable taste and are quite exceptional in the kitchen and anywhere else life might take you.
(Can you tell where I fall?)
:)

I'm so-oh-oh excited about the Contessa's new cookbook out this week.


And, yeah...if I had a second daughter I'd consider the name Ina.

Thanks to Borders for sending me a 40% off coupon for this coveted little number.
I may just have to bat my eyes at a certain Brawny Man, hand him the coupon, point him in the direction of the book store and see what happens... 

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Pumpkin-y Sort of Day

We got our chance to visit the pumpkin patch.



















Coming Soon:
Photobucket

Pick up your camera and click, click, click!

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice

Last week I got a baking bug - raided my pantry and discovered the massive cans of pumpkin that I bought up in anticipation of another (dreaded!) pumpkin shortage this Fall.


Pumpkin bread. Comin' right up.

But not just any old pumpkin bread. I was going for a replica of that fantastic stuff they sell at Starbucks with the almost-crunchy topping.

The Starbucks version.

So, here it is, my version of Starbucks Pumpkin Bread. Only better. How do I know this?
My Mama told me so...and Mama knows everything.



Pumpkin Spice Bread
Bread:
3 cups flour (you can use whole wheat)
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teasp. nutmeg
1 1/2 teasp. cinnamon
1 1/2 teasp. salt
2 teasp. baking soda
1 teasp. vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cups water
4 eggs
1 can pumpkin (single pie size)
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped

Topping:
1/2 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
2 Tbspoons flax meal
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup oats
3 Tbspoons brown sugar
dash cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until it reaches the consistency of the topping in the photo.



Mix together flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, baking soda.
Add oil, vanilla, water, eggs, pumpkin and walnuts.
Pour into 3 well buttered and floured bread pans. (Butter the bottoms very well or the loaves will stick.)
Divide the topping into 3 portions and sprinkle it on top of the batter in the pans.
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or until knife comes clean.


These loaves freeze beautifully! And the recipe is still good if you don't feel like dealing with making the topping...but the pumpkin seeds on top make it extra special.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Totally Love This.

Yeah...if I listen to it too many times I get teary.
I promise, you'll love this song (especially the mommies).
Click play. Do it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Speakin' My Language

Have you ever read the book The Five Love Languages?
(If you haven't and you're married, a parent, a friend...or have ANY relationships AT ALL, shame on you!
Pick up a copy and read. Right away.)

I am firmly in the camp of two of the love languages: words of affirmation and receiving gifts.
You want to know something? God must have decided that I need a big dose of that lovin' feeling lately because there have been some beautiful instances of affirming words sent my way. Emails telling me how much the words I write here mean to people. Assurances that I truly am a beautiful woman - without even trying. Encouragers coming out of the woodwork.
And this was enough for me.
It was more than enough.
My tank was full, and I was feelin' it.
Not in a nose-in-the-air prideful way, but in a grateful, you're-making-me-blush sort of way.

And then, yesterday, a package arrived.

Totally unexpected. I couldn't imagine what could be inside.
I didn't order anything.

I opened the box and pulled out a Kindle ereader.


A gadget that I've had my (insatiable) eye on since they came on the market a few years ago.
There was a note.
My sister-in-law; she was the giver.
An early Christmas/Birthday gift.
Really? Really?!

I was a puddle of melty, mushy, 'you love me, you really love me!' goo.


This gift spoke to me.
Not because it was an expensive gadget.
 (But it is seriously cool. She got me the Big Poppa with all the bells and whistles and I think it even came with a marching band, too.)
This gift meant that someone cared enough to think about the things that make me tick.
Someone valued me enough to save up for close to a year (or more?) and splurge on me.
She did it just for the sheer joy of giving me joy.
She wasn't even there to see my receive the gift.
Her gratification had to come in the form of a teary (yes, tears) phone call from me asking,
"Thank you! but why?!"
She did it for no other reason than she cares.
This gift is worth so much more to me than electronic books at my fingertips...
It's the love of a friend.
She was totally speakin' my language.
Fluently.
Like she'd done it all her life.

And you know what it makes me want to do?
Read.
Not my Kindle; other people.
I want to read them.
Dig around and find out their love languages and speak to them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baby's First...

Pumpkin.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Learning @ Home

Homeschooling the piglets: a dream of mine.

To know more about what we're doing to learn at home, see my new 'Learning at Home'  tab at the top of the blog.

Pick-Me-Ups

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate - S'bucks

Open-mouthed baby kisses planted square on my mouth, cheek, nose, neck, arm

Making Beck belly-laugh

Seeing the numbers on the scale go down...down...down...

Reggae music

Cocoa covered almonds

A well-made list

Quiet prayer in the morning

When he can't tear his eyes off of me and feels compelled to whisper, "you are beautiful."

The knowing look that passes between friends - no words needed

Chocolate chip cookies, hot off the baking sheet + Milk

A solo trip to the bookstore

A sweet cuddle with my Evie-girl

Doing a nice deed; no strings attached

A shower that lasts longer than necessary

Mascara...applied liberally

Kind words from a friend

A candle glowing in the living room - just because

Watching 19 Kids and Counting

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

Writing...here

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Little Love


Britt is Seven Months Old today.
Those bright eyes.
Those smiling lips.
Those "pinch-me" cheeks.
Goodness...I've fallen for him.

(The love is really flowing today...he slept 6 1/2 hours straight last night!)

October Snacking









I've been re-awaked to the joys of a peanut-y caramel apple. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

You Might Be Happy to Know...

...my lawn got mowed last weekend. :)

Corn Chowder - Recipe of the Month

When I came home from the hospital, bearing my third baby in my arms instead of inside my belly, I was greeted to a home with candles burning, freshly vacuumed rugs and a pot of my mom's corn chowder hot on the stove.

Is there a more welcome feeling than knowing your mama has warm soup and bread waiting for you?

I think not.

My friend just brought home her second baby and I am bringing her a meal. Whipping up a pot of corn chowder - to welcome her into motherhood...again - is a small price to pay for me to get a quick newborn snuggle.


Corn Chowder


6-8 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled

1 large onion, chopped
3-4 diced potatoes
2 cups boiling water
12 oz corn, frozen, canned or fresh
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 quart milk


Cook the bacon and remove all grease from pan except about 2 Tbsp. Add onion to the pot and cook in bacon grease until soft. Add potatoes and water, cover and simmer about 10 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Add corn, salt and pepper, milk and bacon. Heat well over low heat.
Makes 6 servings.

I'm off! Toting my container of corn chowder and a nice loaf of rustic bread for buttering and dipping.

Happy Monday!