Monday, March 29, 2010

Homemade Cereal Bars

I’ve been experimenting a lot with making every day food from scratch.  I’ve made pasta, bread, hamburger buns and pizza dough to name just a few.  It’s my new fun thing to do.  I’m finding that I love to cook – not only because it’s a huge money saver!

My latest adventure was homemade cereal bars.  I found a simple recipe online, and went with that.  I’m sure there are a ton of recipes out there, some healthier than others, so please don’t feel that this is the end all, be all recipe for cereal bars.   While I made these bars, I channeled The Pioneer Woman and took pictures along the way.  Enjoy my point and click/no touch up photos!

First, start with oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. 


Then cut in a stick and a half of butter (this isn’t the healthiest recipe out there, I’m sure)


When your pastry cutter doesn’t work, use your hands, then a fork, then the pastry cutter, and then a fork again to cut in the butter.  After about ten minutes, it should all be combined nicely. *sigh*


Press half of the mix into the bottom of a pan, size unknown.  I went with a medium sized pan, and it was TOO SMALL.  I had leftovers.  I would imagine this would fit in a regular, large baking dish.


Spread your sister’s HOMEMADE BLACKBRERY JAM on the first layer.  YUM!  Talk about completely homemade!  It was a little tricky getting the jam spread to the edges, but I managed pretty well.


Spread the remaining mix over the jam.  Make sure everything is covered.  Bake for 30 min at 350.


Make a powdered sugar and cinnamon glaze (RICH!), and drizzle that over the bars when they are still warm.  Let cool, then cut into bars.


If you have extra mix, because you didn’t know what size pan to use, make a mini batch in a small baking dish.  But don’t use your sister’s homemade strawberry jam, because it wasn’t completely set up and ended up making a mushy mess.  A YUMMY mushy mess, but still a spoonable, mushy mess.


So, there you have it.  Pretty easy.  Jack LOVED the strawberry mess.  It’s pretty sweet with that glaze drizzled on top.  I stored the bars in the refrigerator, and am eating it for a mid-morning snack this week.  You know, the post breakfast, pre lunch meal.  Everyone has those, right??

What other everyday convenient food can I make from scratch?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I’m So Indecisive!

This is what I’ve been spending all my time doing.  I’m close to figuring out a header!  But I may be so far away and just not realize it yet. I’ve thought I had ‘the one’ about 4 times now.  I just keep changing things!  How do designers do it??? 

I need your help.  If I knew how to create a poll (read: if I had the TIME to find out how to make a poll), I’d do a cute ‘click on the one you like’ poll.  But, since I don’t know how to do a poll, I’ll just number them and ask you what number you like the best. 

This is the chance for you to come out of hiding and give me your opinion!  I’d LOVE to hear what you think.  If you think they all stink, and I should go a completely different direction, tell me!  If you like one of them but think I should change a color, placement, or font, tell me!  I’m completely open to your thoughts.  I’m guessing most of you are more creative than me.   I value your input!

Ok, here are the options I’ve come up with so far….

1. Red title, green description, all striped background, red bo5derFullscreen capture 3282010 101559 PM

2.  Brown title, brown description, all striped background, green border   Fullscreen capture 3282010 101629 PM

3.  Red title, green description, stripes and dots background, red border (this one needs something in that empty space, and I’m not sure what-suggestions?)Fullscreen capture 3282010 101714 PM

4.  Crayon background (before I knew how to make borders)Fullscreen capture 3282010 121056 PM

5.  No change what-so-ever.  It’s the standard, no header, simple template.  This is what it’s been up to this point. (I did take away the standard borders because of all the headers I’m trying out)Fullscreen capture 3282010 121234 PM

I know they’re kind of hard to see, but I’m hoping you can get a good idea of what it looks like by these screen shots.  Thank you for giving me your opinions!  I really feel stuck. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Please Pardon My Digital Dust


I am experimenting with Photoshop and headers.  I would love to design a cute header for my blog, but I’m not sure exactly how to do it.  It’s all trial and error!

My blog header may change every other time you come visit.  It may be the same for a long time, even if I don’t like it, because I have a one year old and a husband and a house and a kitchen and laundry and toys everywhere…you get my drift.  I’d like to sit forever and play with different designs, but life keeps getting in the way.

And there is that little thing called “I don’t  know what the heck I’m doing!!”  Photoshop is still a mystery to me.  Everything I’ve learned, I learned from YouTube tutorials.  I am determined to create a cute header that I’m happy with, but until then, enjoy whatever header is up for the moment.


Thanks for your understanding while this blog is under construction. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

What Does YOUR Kitchen Junk Drawer Look Like?


No one likes to admit what their junk drawer looks like.  I know I don’t!  The only redeeming thing about this photo is that you can tell that at one time, it  was organized.  I did take time a few years (yes, YEARS) ago to clean it out and organize it with cute little baskets.  But, time has wrecked it.  And I’m getting annoyed with it.  So I cleaned it!

I dumped out the contents all over my family room floor while Jack was napping.  I put everything in need little organized piles, so I knew what I was dealing with. 


Then Jack woke up.  It made organizing a little challenging, but we managed to get it done with minimal stress.

Let’s take a look at what we found, shall we?

A million and one bag clips (I thought I didn’t have), some post–its and a contact case: 


Some wipes from restaurants that my husband feels the need to save and some guitar picks.  LOTS of guitar picks:


Someone gave me 30 packs of gum on my 30th birthday (almost 3 years ago) and, since I don’t chew gum often, I still have a LOT left.  And pens, pens and MORE pens!  I had no idea there were so many in this one drawer!!


But I’m happy to report that the drawer got organized, stuff got thrown away, other stuff got put away to their proper home,  and Boozle didn’t choke on any of the many small bolts and screws. 

Awwwww….I feel much better now.


(I hope you can tell a difference.  I can certainly FEEL a difference!)

Check Out This Blog…

One of my bestest friends in the whole entire world started a blog

me with my girls (that’s Heather on the left)

She is in the beginning stages still – finding great backgrounds, making buttons and headers (I’m working on it), figuring out how Blogger works, and gaining readers.  She is a fabulous Christian woman who loves her kids and husband to death.  She has  been my encourager, accountability partner, kitchen organizer, and singing partner. 

Here’s a fun story for you:  We met way back in 1999 when she was training me at my new job (I was a temp).  We were back in the file room, which was a small hallway-like room that held boxes and boxes of files, organizing the boxes.  (she’s always been big on organizing!) For some strange reason, we both started singing/rapping lines from a DCTalk song “That Kind of Girl".  It was so obscure and so funny, that we immediately became friends.  Recently, she just found that song as a ringtone, and we’re both using it on our cell phones for each other.  “The other night I met a girl and she looked at me so nice… “

Here’s another fun story for you:   She met her husband when she threw me a surprise birthday party.   He and I were best friends in college, and when they met at this party, they hit it off right away.  It was so fun for me to have two of my best friends marrying each other.  So, she can blame me or thank me, but I’m the reason she’s married to her hubby :)

And now, in our ‘real lives’, after having gone so many years of not getting to spend time together –me always teaching and coaching and her raising two kids and a husband – we work to spend every Friday together, trying out new recipes and ideas.  Sometimes she watches Jack while I go to the Chiropractor, but most Fridays we HANG OUT!!!  How fun is that!? 

DSC05767 (Heather with Jack a year ago!)

So, check out my friend Heather’s new blog The Diary of a “Disciplined” Mom.   Expect it to change often as she goes through the ‘construction phase’ of getting it up and running.  Her latest post was about using a Neti Pot!  FUN!  And GROSS! 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes (or not)

As we were walking in the park yesterday afternoon, I realized that one of our first walks with Jack happened around this same time last year.  I was reminded of that walk because almost the exact same scenario played out - Jack started out in the stroller, became fussy, then ended up with Daddy for the rest of the walk. 

Let’s take a look down memory lane…. March 2009 (2 months)

DSC05413 DSC05417


And this was how we enjoyed last evening’s walk…. March 2010 (14 months)

DSC02645 DSC02652

DSC02656 DSC02668

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Jack is 14 months old now.  I knew I was going to breastfeed as long as I could, but I didn't know how or when it was going to come to an end.  I thought I was going to be happy about it, given the fact that it has not been a pain-free experience for me.  But I never thought I would finish nursing by going ‘cold turkey’. 

DSC04741 (2 weeks)

We’ve been down to three nursing sessions for a few months now.  One before bed, one sometime in the middle of the night or early morning, and another right before his one nap.  It’s been going pretty well, except for the pain.  A mysterious blood blister showed up one day, which had me Googling all over Kingdom Come to figure out what to do about it – to pop or not to pop, that was the question.  (I popped)  A few clogged milk ducts here and there, and always teeth marks or holes from teeth.  I constantly try to work on Jack’s latch and position, but it usually just ends with me giving in to the pain. 

DSC05017 (5 weeks)

It hasn’t been a completely painful adventure.  A long time ago, I figured out that nursing is a great time for me to read a book!  I can go through 2-4 novels in a month in no time flat with this added reading time.  I found that it helps me to remain patient if my mind is engrossed in a book.  I can spend as much time as Jack needs me to spend if I’m not thinking of everything that needs to be done around the house. 

a-IMG_4203 (3 months)

Back to weaning.  When Jack got sick recently, he started throwing up after every feeding.  I think it was because of the phlegm building up, which would make him cough until he would vomit. All. Over. Me.  Poor little guy.  Poor Mama!  It was after our third change of clothes in one day that I finally decided to stop letting Jack nurse.   It worked well for a day or two.  No more vomit, and Jack didn’t seem to miss the nursing.  I was a tad uncomfortable, so I did pump just enough to relieve some pressure.   Things were going great!  ‘Cold turkey’ was working.

DSC05790 (3.5 months)

But then my hormones decided to revolt.  I started crying and sobbing about losing this precious part of my baby, and I just couldn’t do it! I missed it so much!  I missed snuggling with him.  I missed the bond we shared.  I missed running my fingers through his baby-fine hair.  I missed him falling asleep in my lap.  I was shocked about these feelings, because I thought I was going to love being FREE and having my body back to myself.  But BOY was I wrong!! 

DSC08921(PS1) (8 months)

I immediately went back to three feedings, and haven’t looked back since.  It helps us while Jack’s molars are coming in, and it helps  him to fall asleep for his naps. I realized that, even though I’m reading a book while he nurses, I’m still connected to my baby in a way that I’ll never have again.  I am not ready to give that up, and I’m okay with that.  I won’t be nursing him when he goes off to preschool, so this will end eventually.  But for now, I’m happy to have this quiet time to connect with my baby. 

DSC00601 (11 months)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Becoming Crunchy

If you’ve been with me since the beginning of this blog (Hi Mom!), you’ll remember me mentioning that I was called Crunchy by a friend.  That was the first time I’d ever heard the term, but I loved it from the second she said it.  It’s like a cool way to say “you’re so Granola!”  Okay, maybe there isn’t a cool way to say that. 

Anyway, I loved the term, and decided to use it whenever I could.  Then I found out that she wasn’t the only one who knew that word.  There’s a blog I found called “Adventures of a Somewhat Crunchy Mama”  I don’t remember how I found her blog, but once I read her title, I HAD to keep coming back.  It’s the best title for a blog, ever! 

Recently, she has been doing a series called “31 Days to a somewhat Crunchy YOU.” She has been giving us tips each day on how to be a little greener.  Now, I have to admit that I’m crunchy more for the ‘saving tons of money’ aspect  than the ‘let’s save the planet’ aspect.  But I’m not sure it really matters in the end.  It’s still doing our part to be a little healthier for ourselves and our environment, no matter what your reasons. 

Today, she has asked us to share our recipes for homemade cleaning products.  I have to admit that I don’t have any recipes for homemade cleaning products. I won a sample of someone’s homemade laundry soap from someone’s blog last month, but have yet to receive it.  So I’ve never even tried homemade cleaning products!  But, never fear, my friend Heather has decided to ‘go crunchy’ and recently found a great resource for making your own natural cleaning products.  The book is The Naturally Clean Home, and she shared two recipes for dishwasher soap to her friends on her Facebook page the other day.  Being the good friend I am, I ripped it off her page and am posting it here!  At least I’m giving her total credit.  Maybe some day I’ll try this.

Easy dishwasher soap recipe:

2 cups of Washing Soda, 1 cup of Borax, and 1 cup of Baking Soda. (All items can be purchased at your local grocery store).

Mix ingredients together and put in a container and use 2 Tbsp per load. If you have too much residue build up, use 1 1/2 Tbsp.

A scented recipe:

2 cups Washing Soda, 2 cups Borax, and 20 drops of lavender essential oil (make sure it's concentrated, not scented massage oil). You could use any scent you like, i.e.. grapefruit, orange, etc. Same storage and usage directions as recipe above.

If you’re interested in finding other recipes for cleaning products, go to Adventures of  a Somewhat Crunchy Mama.  You can also go through some of her recent posts to find out what other ways you can save a buck and/or save the planet. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You Know You’ve Been Sick for TOO LONG When….

I remember a post I wrote back in October, explaining how my son realized a fate worse than death.  Well, no more my friends.

You know you’ve been sick for too long when you (as a 1 year old)  stand there willingly while having your snot sucked out of your nose! 

Jack came down with Pink Eye last week, and it turned into a full blown cold.  We’ve been using Vick’s on his feet at night, and a cool must humidifier.  We also give him Benadryl  to help with his congestion.  Since we’re a sharing family, he gave me this cold.  I think it’s strep throat, but I’m not quick to go to doctors for colds, so we’ll just ride it out for a while more.  Now it seems that Rick is sharing in all this wonderful sickness too.  Let’s just say that we’re going to make it through a big  3-pack of tissues in no time.

I have to give Jack a ton of credit.  He has to have eye drops in both eyes three times a day, and he also has to sit through a nose sucking every so often.  He has been a champ!  He’ll sit still through the whole thing.  He even leans in a little for the nose sucking.  I think he figured out that it really does help him. 

So, we’re all out of commission for a bit.  Hopefully I’ll get to the store today and come home with good medicine and some herbal tea.  I’m praying that this doesn’t move into a full blown ear infection for Jack.  He’s starting to tug at his ears, so we’re scheduling an appointment with his doctor as soon as we can get in.  

Thanks for your prayers while we try to get healthy. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Artistic Son

Remember in my last post where I said my son is a genius? Well, I’m not sure his artistic skills have caught up with his motor skills.  He can walk forward and backward (and even sideways on accident), but he can not make a mark on a paper with those cute little palm markers from Crayola.  

It could be because they’re meant for 18mo+, but I thought he could handle them by now.  He marked on a paper with my highlighters just the day before.  Maybe he’s TOO SMART and figured since they’re not shaped like markers, they’re not really markers.  Naaa. He just liked the feel of them and had no interest in using them as markers yet.

Here’s a pictorial walk through our 5 minutes of discovery time with those horribly messy adorable markers. 

 DSC02316It started out well…(any mark on the paper was my demonstrating how they worked)

  DSC02318Then he grabbed a hold of them and spent the next 5 minutes feeling the wet ink.

DSC02339DSC02319      DSC02325 And getting messier and messier…DSC02326 

DSC02328This is where we had to stop.        

So, it may be a while before we get those markers out again.  He loved them, but I didn’t love it when he chucked them across the living room floor.  They were horribly messy, but luckily for him they were very washable. 

He’s Advanced for his Age!

That’s what Jack’s doctor said this morning.  I have proof now.  We’ve always known our son was a genius, and now we have medical confirmation.

Okay, we won’t go that far, but his doctor did say that exact phrase about his walking skills this morning.  He is officially walking backwards now.  He’s slow, and sometimes looks like he’s dancing, but he does walk backwards now. 

We had to go in to see our doctor, because Jack has Conjunctivitis.  A.K.A. Pink Eye. Poor little squirt.  We were with a play group yesterday from 10-11am, and by 2pm I could see the globs in his eyes.  He’s not really phased by it, unless you call a sleepless night where he would ONLY sleep snuggled into his mommy not being phased.  We’re making it through though.

I do have some more Growth Chart Moments for you.  This last month has been a HUGE Growth Chart month for us.  He’s really coming along nicely!  Or shall I say “advancedly?”  (Let’s hope he doesn’t have my grammar)

  • He’s nodding his head ‘yes’ now.  Last time I mentioned he has the ‘no’ shake down.  These last couple of days you could see him working on the yes nod.  It’s more of an entire upper body twitch, but it still gets the point across.  It’s slowly becoming a head nod and not so much a bend at the waist.
  • He’s saying “HI!” to us now.  Its his official first word.  Sometimes it sounds like ‘Hey!’ and sometimes it’s a ‘Hi!"’.  He hasn’t unveiled it to anyone other than Daddy and Mommy, but I’m sure some day he’ll be handing out Hi’s to every stranger he passes.
  • He says “Da!” for Daddy now.  He still can’t decide which one of us is Mommy and which is Daddy, but he does call Rick “Da'” now.  Let me explain what I mean.  When we ask him where Mommy is, he may point to me or he may point to Rick.  Same thing goes for Daddy.  But he always calls his Daddy, Da.  You try to figure that out.
  • His only other word right now is “Ba.”  That may be Bonk, for when he bonks his head, or it may be button.  It’s usually one of those two though, so I consider it a word.

And, of course, he’s still the cutest thing ever.  Even if he’s starting to have temper tantrums now.


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