The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lawson is ONE!

So my baby boy turned one this past weekend.  One.  Crazy.  I am having a hard time coping.  Freal.  He is helping me a little by not walking and not getting any teeth so he still looks like a baby.  Kind of. 

one of the greatest days ever

Here is some info about Lawson at one.

Height: 29 inches (24th percentile)
Weight: 18 lbs and 11 oz (3rd percentile)

photo taken on his actual birthday

Eating:  Was improved until this past weekend.  He is/was eating more "real" foods like non-baby oatmeal for breakfast, veggie pasta or spaghetti, chicken cut up into tiny, itty bitty pieces, soup, bread, etc.  Basically I am trying to get away from baby food.  It is hard with the no teeth thing to find table foods that he can eat!  Lawson still nurses about 4-5 times a day and I think for now I will continue to nurse.  I may change my mind once those teeth come in, but for now we're sticking with it.  Lawson eats just about anything I give him with the exception of chicken pot pie!

Sleeping:  Also had major progress until this most recent sickness.  While Lawson has never really gone through a long phase of sleeping through the night, it was close during these past three weeks.  I had finally felt enough peace about his ears to do some sleep training and then BAM, sick again.  After seeing the doc today we are scheduling a time to meet with our ENT to discuss tubes.  Hopefully one of these days Lawson and I will sleep.

Likes:  Anything his sisters like, his rocktivity music table, his paci (lol), pulling up on the furniture and cruising around, taking baths.

Dislikes:  Having his nose wiped, not being allowed into his sisters' room, drinking from a cup.

Milestones:  Lawson started clapping and is close to mastering some signing.  We are working on mostly food/eating related signs for now.  He also started taking baths in the bathtub without the baby bath and really likes it when he gets to take a bath with Isabelle and Molly.

For Lawson's birthday Jason and I made a construction cake that I discovered on pinterest.  I found the picture on pinterest but the link only took me to spam, so I googled construction cake and found her site.  Here is the link.

Her cake was pretty awesome and I thought we could pull it off.  I was responsible for the cake (I used the recipes from her site) and the icing (used this icing and made the chocolate version).  I have to tell you that I think this was the best from scratch cake I have ever made.  The frosting was super yummy also!  Jason was responsible for the decorating.  He cut a little sliver out of the top and piled it back on the cake and frosted over it all.  We then used oreo crumbs for dirt and put candy rocks on as well.  The trucks were purchased at target in a little combo pack of construction vehicles.  Jason did a great job and overall the cake was a huge success. 

Here are some photos of the cake.

And, just as soon as Laws is feeling better the lovely CCMiller will be taking some photos for us!  I am so excited to hopefully get some great shots of my little guy!

Happy Birthday to the cutest, most cuddly, sweetest, most adorable little guy on the planet!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Adventures in Cooking: Bread, Frosting, Ravioli and PW

One of the first meals I ever tried to cook for Jason (aside from tacos or spaghetti) was orange chicken with wild rice and a green vegetable (can't remember the veggie!).  I was so excited to cook something new and even better it was from a new cookbook I had gotten from my mother in law.  I can still remember the feelings of pride I had cooking for Jason.  I can also still remember the look on his face when he cut into his massively undercooked, basically still raw, orange chicken.  It was a disaster.  Sometimes it is hard to believe that I am that same person who couldn't even cook chicken all the way.  I mean, don't most new cooks burn things?

Anyway, here are a few new things I have made recently.

I love Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I have found great recipes there.  My broccoli cheese soup recipe is from her also.  So, when Jason requested I not make buttercream for Isabelle's birthday cake, I looked at her site for frosting ideas.  At first glance, this recipe does not seem worth all the work required, but trust me it is.  This was seriously the best frosting I have ever had.  My only recommendation is to follow the recipe EXACTLY.  Don't try to cut corners with this one or you may be disappointed.  Also, if you like super sweet frosting, you might as well just stick with a can.  This one will not be for you!

Next up, Baked Ravioli.

This is a great and easy to prepare meal for the whole family.  Everyone in my family loves it.  It doesn't take long, has simple ingredients and works great for our meatless nights!

You didn't think I would start off the new year and forget to mention PW did you???

Her Chicken and Noodles recipe is divine.

I did a few things different.  I did not use a whole chicken because I only had breasts.  So, I used two chicken breasts.  I also did not use the water from boiling my chicken for the base of the soup because, well, I did not boil a whole chicken!  So, instead I used chicken broth from my pantry.  I also did not use near the amount of onion she did because I am an onion hater.  I did not have white pepper so I used black, and did not have turmeric either so just left it out.  With all the changes it still turned out absolutely delicious!!!  My kids were only slightly impressed, but they ate it so I consider it a win.  Jason and I loved it.

Lastly, a recipe I think you need to go make NOW.  

Bread.  As in homemade bread.  

This recipe comes from probably my all time favorite blogger, Jami Nato.  Haven't heard of her?  Go read her entire blog then come back and make bread.  Or, make the bread and eat it while reading her whole blog.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll love her, you'll get a great bread recipe.  And if you're anything like me you will wish that somehow, someday, you might get to meet Mrs. Nato in person.

Okay, back to the bread.  You will need a bread maker, but you won't cook the bread in the bread maker.  You will only use it for the dough cycle.  You will also need a loaf pan to bake your bread.  I won't lie.  After reading about hair in bread (don't believe me, google it) I was compelled to at least try to make my own.  I was pretty sure I was on the right track after the second rise.  The dough was so BIG and looked so promising.  After baking it and having the smell of fresh bread fill my house I could hardly wait to taste it.  After waiting the five minutes after taking it out of the oven I cut myself a slice.  WOW.  Like, WOW.  It. was. so. so. so. good.  I honestly could not believe that I made bread that tasted that good.  Now, I can't stop making bread.  Easy, cheap, delicious.  I think I might make more today.  

There you go, four great recipes that seriously, you should make.  No excuses.  They are all so tasty.  And if you think that maybe you don't have the skills to make some of this food, just look back at the beginning where I mentioned the chicken debacle.  If I can do it, so can you!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Recap

I realize Christmas has come and gone, but for us our last Christmas was less than a week ago.  We celebrated with my dad and step mom last Sunday concluding our four Christmas celebrations.

Here is a recap of our holiday season in (mostly) pictures.

We went to Church on the Move's, The Story of Christmas.

The girls and I made goodies with my mom, sister and my sister's kiddos.

We decorated cookies and opened presents with Jason's mom and grandparents.

We celebrated Christmas at my mom's house where we ate our traditional Christmas breakfast.  I took a grand total of zero pictures.  Luckily, Jason took a couple. 

Aunt Katie helped Lawson open a present.

Lawson put on his new stocking hat!

The girls spent a lot of time in their new robes from Aunt Buh-Buh.

Molly was a little tired after our day of celebrating!

Christmas Eve we fixed hot chocolate and loaded up in the van for a Christmas lights tour.

We also wrote a note to Santa and put out some cookies and milk.

We woke up Christmas morning to open presents but the only thing the girls wanted to play with was the bowling.

We kept to our plan to buy only four gifts (a want, a need, something to wear, something to read).  Of course, Santa left one also.

Isabelle got to spend some time outside riding her bike.

Christmas evening we ate a delicious dinner of chicken fried steak with my mom, brother, and sister in law.  It was very yummy.

Then, this past Sunday, we celebrated with my Dad.  Of course we ate tacos and played games.  Jason did well at Quelf, but Terry still won.  (if you haven't heard of this game I think it is worth checking out!)

There you have it, our Christmas in a nutshell.  Despite the craziness and chaos involved in planning and shopping and cooking and cleaning, I still love Christmas time.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goals for 2013

When I was a working woman I had to set goals all. the. time.  Daily goals, weekly goals, monthly, quarterly, and on and on and on.  For everything.  Sales, professional development, staff, my students, every aspect of my job required me to think about and set goals.  I mention this statistic every year, and I think it is important to mention it again.

80% of all Americans have no goals, 16% do have goals, 4% have goals and write them down, 1% have goals, write them down, and read them on a regular basis. That 1% will make nine times more income in their lifetime than the other 99%.
And while setting my personal and household goals hasn't exactly made me a rich woman financially, I do believe it makes my life better to be working towards something rather than just muddling through.

So here goes, my 2013 goals.  Or at least my 2013 goals that I am sharing with the interweb! 

1.  Lose weight.  Duh.  However, since this goal is so easy to lose track of, I am setting quarterly goals this time around and will check back in three short months.  For the first quarter, I would like to complete a couch to 5k program.  Day one is already complete.  I am also going to make it my goal to drink more water.  I used to be very diligent about this and it is time to get back to it!  I figure if I accomplish those two things, weight loss will follow.  We'll see.

2.  Complete at least three days of school a week with Isabelle and Molly.  I don't feel a lot of pressure to do five days a week with the girls because technically neither of them would be in school anyway, but I do want to be more consistent in what we are calling school.

3.  Work on a monthly character trait as a family.  This month is obedience.  With the girls we will discuss obeying your parents, but for me this means learning more about being obedient to God.  Jason's mom bought us a book about character like forever ago and I am using it to pick our character trait for the month.  Some examples are truthfulness, self-control, boldness, hospitality, joyfulness, patience and dependability.

4.  Earn money to buy a camera.  I have literally no idea how I will find the extra money to do this.  And even if I do find the money, I am not sure how I will justify using it for a camera, but I do want to try.  If I manage to get a camera, my next goal will be to find the money to take an online course from one of my favorite bloggers/photographers.

5.  Learn to care more about what God thinks than what people think.  I have a hard time with worrying about what other people are thinking about me.  I worry when I have people over if they will think my house is too dirty, or too small, or too crowded.  I worry about what people in my family might say if we get pregnant again.  I worry about what I look like, how I dress, how I dress my kids, my decision to home school.  It is ridiculous.  Why do I care?  I really don't know.  What I do know is that it is crazy to worry about what people might think instead of being concerned with what God wants for my life.  So there it is, I want to spend more time in the Word, more time listening to sermons, more time reading books that help me grow closer to the Lord and I want to stop worrying about what people think about me!

6.  Read more.  I'd like to read at least two books a month.  I feel like I do that now, but I haven't really been keeping track, so for now 24 seems reasonable.  I will let you know what I am reading and what I think.  I am almost through with a book I got for Christmas about parenting.  It's good stuff.


7.  I would like to make 2013 the year I stop being so hard on myself.  Even typing that is difficult because what I am thinking is, "good grief, don't be such a moron."  Whether or not I think I am overly hard on myself, my family believes I am.  They tell me all the time, "stop being so hard on yourself."  So this year I am aiming to give myself a little credit.  I am not entirely sure how to do this, but I am going to attempt to find out. 

There you go, my goals for 2013!  What do you hope to accomplish in the next 12 months?  I'd love to hear.  Also, if you have any book recommendations I would love to hear those also.