Friday, July 30, 2010

Boys N' Muffins

The Face of Concentration:

I love watching Zakkai read books:)


Got in a baking mood the other day and made some Applesauce Breakfast Cake. It's always good to have a treat for breakfast! Something is terribly wrong with my oven. But only sometimes. Sometimes it cooks like normal and other times it won't heat to the right temperature. Like the time that I had to bake muffins for 50 minutes.....Or the Applesauce Cake. I was about to give up after 45+ minutes (it was in a small pan and should've cooked in 20-25min!) then Ben suggested turning the oven off and trying again. It worked!

So I remade the Applesauce Cake yesterday into muffins and changed a few of the ingredients to made it better and it worked! And it only took 20 min:) Everyone loved these!!

Applesauce Breakfast Muffins

*Half all ingredients except topping if want to make into a cake instead. Cook in 8 in square pan


1/4c. packed brown sugar

2TB butter

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 TB flour

1/4 cup oatmeal


2 cups flour (I used 1 white, 1 wheat)

2/3 cups brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

dash salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

dash or two of nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten well

1 cup applecause (I use natural, unsweetened)

1/2 cup butter, melted (could use a little less)

Few TB orange juice

1 tsp vanilla

Preparation: Makes 14 muffins

1. Mix topping ingredients together in small bowl and set aside

2. In medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. In lg bowl, mix together wet ingredients until well blended. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until wet.

2. Prepare muffin pans and add batter to pans. Sprinkle topping over all muffins. Dot muffin tops with butter (will explain how I do it below!)

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min or until inserted toothpick comes out clean! Very yummy!

*Whenever I dot the tops of muffins or coffee cake with butter, I use about 1 TB of butter. I slice it into thin slices (not so thin it'll crumble) and cut each slice into 9 teeny tiny squares. I put 3 tiny pieces on each muffin top. It adds just enough flavor to make it yummy and is just enough to melt the topping!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Return of Craftiness

It was a quiet day today. We ventured outside into the oppressive heat and humidity only to return home about 35-40 min later with both boys dripping wet and all of us with bright red faces! I'll stick to the air-conditioning, thankyouverymuch!

The boys played really nicely together while I worked on my newest project. Unfortunately I have far too many projects on my plate with plenty more circling my brain, just itching to get on my list!

I was happy to have accomplished a little something today:) I turned these: (there are 3)

Into these:

It was a lot more complicated than I thought! I didn't want to take apart the original basket cover so I had to measure each piece as best as I could, adding in a seam allowance. Whew! After measuring, drawing the pieces on paper, cutting them out, tracing them on the fabric and cutting those out...I was finally ready.

They definitely aren't perfect, as nothing I ever make is!! But I am pretty happy with how they turned out. All ready to put some of Baby Girl's clothes in! So currently that leaves her with 3 baskets and no dresser. It's a start!

Now if only I could finish my quilt before the fall! C'mon motivation!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

72 Hour Days

I told Ben today that I am so tired by dinner time because my days are about 72 hours long. He didn't believe me. He said the days are only 4 hour days. Hmmm.... That could be because I am desperately trying to entertain and keep out of trouble two busy busy boys and he is working 14 hour days trying desperately to finish his dissertation. I'm sure you have days like these, too!

One of the things I have put the boys up to is decorating their new prize jars! I did away with their sticker charts, which fell off the wall every 6 days or so and went off of a friend's idea and now we have prize jars, thanks to the dollar store:)

Z working very hard to decorate his jar:) We found big star shaped marbles at the dollar store and for every 10 that the boys earn, they get a prize either from the prize bucket or extra stories, little dates with mommy or daddy, etc. Z is currently working on LISTENING, something he has a bit of trouble with:)

Samuel started out painting his different colors but ended up painting over it all in red:) He is working on being kind to his brother and not so bossy (or tattle tale-y) and also his newest goal: quitting sucking his fingers! The boys love their new jars!


Another way we entertained these wild things was a family car-washing event tonight. I know, don't be jealous. Our car was desperately crying out for a good vacuuming and washing, as it has been X months (or longer) since we last did it. Hey, I can't tell you the real number; it's like confessing the last time you visited the dentist!!

The boys got a real kick out helping scrub and dry the car:)


And as the boys were busy painting the other day, I decided to get a few things out of our closet only to:

rip part of the shelving out of the wall! Everything on top of the shelves (not pictured) was falling down everywhere and I was holding up the clothes yelling at the boys to get daddy to help me!! It was really fun. I had to take allll my clothes off the hooks (speaking of clothes: it looks like I have a lot but I wear about 6 of those currently! And I don't have enough room to store different seasons clothes so most of my seasons are all there:).

Anyways, we're trying to keep busy but it's been pretty lonely without our good friends around us. I'm always up for ideas of how to entertain these wild things, so feel free to share! Or come visit....

Especially considering my days are 72 hours long.

Monday, July 26, 2010

T Week!!!

I totally got sidetracked from doing Alphabet Weeks a month or 7 ago:) It was too hard to have the energy to do it for so long with all the winter illnesses, etc. BUT. I realized a couple of weeks ago that there were exactly the same letters left in the alphabet that we hadn't done yet as there are weeks left til school starts.

So...we have resurrected our Alphabet Weeks to countdown til school. And I felt guilty for not finishing. Especially when Samuel looked through his alphabet notebook a couple of weeks ago and asked why it stopped at S...

T is for:

Painting T's with teabags!!

Z takes his painting very seriously:) And refused to use the teabag...

Samuel is getting really creative with his painting, a craft he used to hate!

Z always wants to do extra papers after he's done. He requested a turtle (and Samuel requested himself eating a tortilla. Hey, whatever floats your boat!)

For Z's alphabet notebook: T is for Tree! I love that he mixes all his colors together and yet picked the perfect colors for a tree:)

For Samuel's notebook: T is for none other than...Train! (the shadow at the bottom is me, not the painting!) I love how colorful it is and how everything is colored separately. So true to how he approaches many things in life!
T is for Thomas Train! We couldn't find any Thomas books at the library (go figure) but we did find a Thomas movie:) Thomas has been a part of our family for 2 1/2 years. Sniff.
T is also for:
Books: "Albert's Terrible Toothache", "Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar", "The Two Sillies", "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and "Firetrucks" to name a few!
Food: Tacos!! Tea, Treats, Turkey
Subjects we talked about: Toys, Trucks, Trains, Toes, Tummies, Uncle Tim, Trees, Thunder, Tigers, Tigger, Trouble, Teamwork and more!
*And we tried really hard to go see "Toy Story 3" as a treat with a movie giftcard we have, only to get waylaid by many non-working traffic lights which made us already 10 minutes late before we came upon a completely flooded road! All thanks to the pouring rain and bad storms we received on Fri night. We are going to try again this weekend:)
Need ideas for "U" week!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things:

*An 80 degree day after far too many 90+ days!


*Spontaneous little boy hugs and "I love you's."

*Being clean.

*Seeing how much my boys love their Uncle Tim and vice versa.

*Peaches and more peaches!

*Target's new bigger grocery section that falls somewhere in between regular Target and SuperTarget.

*And their new carts. Gotta love a cart that's easy to push! Even if it is made out of plastic...

*My mom! I treasure the 3-4 times a year I get to spend time with her:)

*Naps. I am nap-dependent these days. This heat is killing me! Or at least it was until today..

*Samuel (and Zakkai~see above:)!!

*The smell of freshly cut grass.

*Random million dollar checks in the mail. Well, it hasn't happened yet but I'm still hoping...

*Parking spots right in front of my apartment.

*My grandparents and the neverending supply of love they have for their family!

*Picking out new books! And reading them, too.

*My family~near and far. I am blessed to have an awesome family (my own definitely included!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Candid Shot Thursday!

This was one of my favorite pictures from our trip to Ohio!

Taken at Samuel's birthday party at Graeter's! Ben caught him at just the right moment:)


I have been trying really hard to take the boys outside everyday because!!!!!! They really must miss the fresh country air and freedom of Ohio! So I take them to the park and they get all sweaty and boy-smelling and it wears them out until after nap/rest time and then they are all wound up again! sigh.

Thank goodness for our porch! I herded them out there this afternoon and made it through about 10 minutes of sitting there with them before the oppressive humidity forced me inside. Kids don't care about that though! They were playing with their scooter and a ride-on airplane for awhile. Zakkai got behind Samuel, who was sitting on the airplane and Samuel scooted back and crashed into him. Zakkai got all offended and turned to tell me about it. I told him to use his words and ask Samuel to watch out and not bump him and Z turned around and said, in complete seriousness,

"Samuel, could you please not bump into me 'cause if I was wearing an astronaut suit, you would squish me and break my suit."

What an imagination!! He hasn't wavered from his desire to be an astronaut for at least 6 months or more:) He does want to be a fireman, too, on the side. I took the boys to the library yesterday morning and he got SO excited over a fireman book we found. So then, of course, I had to look for another one to keep the peace between the boys and went over to the non-fiction section where we found tons of books. Z spotted, not only more firefighter books, but one about the space shuttle Columbia. He seriously hasn't let go of the book since! He wants me to read it to him all day, took it to the park today, keeps it by his bed, and reads it endlessly during his many pooping trips to the bathroom (a new obsession)! He asked me today if firemen and astronauts were brave:) I wouldn't be surprised if he really did turn out to do one of those things!

Samuel, on the other hand, is still deciding what he wants to be. He has until about 2023 to decide. That ought to be enough time to decide, right? He's a homebody, that one is.

Just like his mama:)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Ah, such a lovely word! Poop. You can't get away from it as a parent and unfortunately I've seen a lot of poop in the past 5 days. So here's the good, the bad and the ugly:)

The Bad and the Ugly Poop.

This beautiful kid has unfortunately caught Z's stomach bug:( He has been increasingly complaining of stomach pains over the past couple of days until it got so bad this afternoon that he was doubled over every 5-10 minutes, sobbing and clutching his stomach. We were about ready to take him to the hospital! But we waited a little while and sure enough, all of the sudden he panicked and raced for the bathroom. Thankfully, he made it in time (unlike brother Z!). He told me he felt SO much better after he was done.

Poop is gross.

The Good.

(cue the Hallelujah chorus!) This little man (are you ready?!) FINALLY is getting the hang of pooping in the toilet! He finally finally earned his prize that he had picked out that has been waiting in the prize bucket for over 2 months! Now he wants to go poop all the time!

Who knew that pooping could make us so happy?!


So there. Has your opinion of me changed after so much poop talk? Hey, at least this didn't happen while I was still gagging over everything!! Thankfully, I only gag about once a week now:) I promise to refrain from too much poop talk in the future.

Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer time fun!

I tried really really hard to go air-conditioning-less for several hours today! But when I came home from 2 + hours at the laundromat, sweating and miserable, I had to give in and turn them back on! And now I'm sitting here, blissfully cool reading "Jane Eyre" and half watching "America's Got Talent." I know, you are really impressed with my multi-tasking skills!

I have been able to bribe the boys to eat many vegetables since we came back by mentioning that they came from Mugga's garden! The morning we left, the boys helped pick some green beans, peppers and gigantic zucchini; they were so proud:) Z wanted to water the garden all day long!

Ah, what is better on a hot day than sweet, juicy watermelon?! This is my friends adorable little girl, Olivia, tasting her first big slice of watermelon. I'm pretty sure she liked it:)

Those red cheeks match the watermelon! He wasn't sure about going in the water at the water park until he got this hot and after his watermelon snack, he jumped right in the sprinklers!

We got a watermelon yesterday and Ben cut it up and left the container on our little island. The whole afternoon, I had to chase Zakkai out of the kitchen. He's a watermelon monger! As I was making dinner, he would run up behind me, pretending he wanted to be close to me and I would turn around and he would try to smile innocently at me with watermelon juice dripping down his chin:) Gotta love the transparency of kids!

Now I've made my self hungry for watermelon......

Monday, July 19, 2010

Introducing (again):

In 3D: Girly Thomas! (sorry it's a little blurry; I had to take pics of the pics:)

Her legs and feet! In the real pic, it is clear enough to count her toes!

Her profile! She was hiding her head in the placenta and being shy but we got a few good shots of her before she completely turned her back on us:)

Her smile! She is very happy inside me kicking and causing all sorts of mischief:) (No, she doesn't have a deformed head; it's the placenta again!)


I'm glad to have these pics to look at at the end of a really trying day!

p.s. We have chosen her name and have shared it with family and a few friends but for some reason, I'm not quite ready to type it out on the blog! It'll give me something really fun to write in the fall:)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My weekend...

*staying inside away from the awful, horrible, no-good, rotten heat!

*taking a trip to the Adler Planetarium as a family where someone pulled the fire alarm and scared about 2 years off of all of our lives! The boys enjoyed watching all the fire trucks come though:)

*Hearing Zakkai talk about the fire alarm 83 more times before bed last night. And then 7 more times today...

*Enjoying a yummy dinner with friends tonight followed by s'mores with giant marshmallows!

*Taking pictures of the boys' chocolatey-marshmallowy faces:)

*Realizing that Zakkai's sweet early sleep the other day (see last post) was not just the result of no nap but also a stomach bug that manifested itself about 5 minutes after I took the picture with horrible diarrhea.

*Cleaning up a few more episodes of Z's stomach issues and realizing, not for the first time, that kids are gross. Cute but gross.

*Eating amazing juicy ripe peaches all weekend and treating us all to peach pancakes this morning. Mmmmm....

*Having fun playing legos with Samuel today. Probably my favorite toy to play with!

*Falling asleep next to Z at naptime today, hearing him whisper "I love you" to me:)

Gotta love the weekend!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

All Play and No Nap....

Makes for one very sleepy little boy:)

He couldn't even make it til dinnertime...

What a sweet boy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Growing up, our family plus extended family spent a lot of time together, resulting in very close friendships between cousins. There are two groups of cousins in my family: All my sisters and I plus the two oldest cousins from one of my aunts and uncles, totalling 7. Then there was an age gap and the second group (the "younger" generation:) all came along, totally 9. It's so neat to see how close all of the cousins are and how the close relationships continue even as many of us are now grown up.

One of the things that breaks my heart about living so far from family is that my boys don't get a chance to really get to know their cousins, except for 3-4 brief trips home a year. This year though, all 6 of the oldest kiddos really got a chance to play and get to know each other and it was so fun to watch!!

Kiddos playing freeze tag with Uncle Chris and Uncle Tim (who rocks with kids!) Zakkai had no idea what he was doing and just kept running the whole time! haha

Samuel getting "frozen" by Jackson, my oldest nephew:)

Aunt Danielle (my sister) gathering all of the kiddos to present special treats she brought all the way from Colorado just for them: Candy Apples! I think she won big points with that one:)

Danielle and I also got a chance to meet our newest nephew, Jacob last week! AdORAble!!!!
He has dimples when he smiles!!

Cutie in a Bumbo:) He was the result of many play "fights" between two of my aunts, who have an ongoing baby war!

We took all 7 kids to get pictures taken before we left and the pictures turned out SO cute! Add that to my list of photos to scan....

I guess I'd better figure out how to use our scanner instead of bugging Ben all the time:)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

4th of July and 24 weeks!

The 4th of July was so strange this year, being on a Sunday! All the parades and a lot of the fireworks were on Saturday but we didn't have our family picnic until Sunday afternoon. Not to mention, missing some of our family this year.

Growing up, 4th of July was one of my very favorite holidays! My sister(s?), cousins and I would spend the night at my grandparents and wake up to a car driving slowly down the streets proclaiming through a bullhorn strapped to its roof, "Wake up! It's the 4th of July!!" We would get so excited:) And then our entire family would meet at the local parade and follow it up with our picnic bash.

Slowly over the past several years, the family has fizzled out, some being too busy, some claiming they are too old or tired to go to the parade, some preferring to sleep in (sleep in? What's that?!). But last year I decided that my very happy childhood memories were something I wanted to pass on to our kids so we have attempted to revive the parade attending! We had a small showing this year but it was still fun!

Samuel and Daddy:) Samuel was pretty overwhelmed with the noise of a lot of the fire engines and trucks but enjoyed it overall.

Most of the parade, Z sat on the curb waving his flag with a very serious look on his face. My sister thought he was upset but I could see those little wheels in his head turning as he took in all of the sights!

Who doesn't love the cool burly cop on the motorcycle?

I thought the boys would love this since we recently had our fire rally experience:)

This is one of my favorite parts of the parade: the Shriners in their mini cars! They drive around and around in crazy circles blowing their horns. They usually drive up and down the parade so you see them 3 times or so but not this year. It was still fun:)

Attempting a boy cousin shot after the parade but as you can see, a certain child wasn't in the mood for cooperating:) I shall not mention any names....

It was really fun even if it's a little more low-key than my childhood memories:)
Today marks 24 weeks of being pregnant, aka 6 months! All was well at the drs except for the nasty glucose test that was sprung on me. I loathe that test. They hand you a giant glass of either orange or lemon-lime glucose nast to drink and then take your blood an hour later. Today I was honored with lemon-lime which tasted like totally flat sprite loaded with sugar syrup. Yum-mo. Zakkai wanted a taste until I assured him that it was a "nasty drink." It made me have heartburn and feel sloshy for the rest of the drs visit!

Other than that, baby girl and I are growing steadily and feeling great! I am in the happy phase of pregnancy with no sickness like in the beginning and not feeling like I could burst quite yet, like in the end:)

We love to eat though, the two of us:) I have very specific desires for food these days. Guacamole is my latest. I made it for the first time last night and ADORED every bite of it on my tacos! Very strange considering I never liked the stuff before! I also am having quite fond memories of my buttery bites of Auntie Anne's pretzels that I had alongside my sister this past weekend. Mmmm....

That's drs appt #1 for this week. Samuel's 5 yr check-up follows tomorrow (and he's really thrilled about it. Thrilled, I tell you!) I will also try to scan some pics from the ultrasound soon!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Back home in good old Chicago again! It is always an adjustment to coming back after peaceful country life and having so much fun with our families. But we were glad to come back to our new apartment, which we love. I think the boys are going through withdrawal. Z told me tonight that when our house gets old, we can just go live at Mugga's house!

The Friday we got to Columbus, we went putt-putting with several members of my family! It was supposed to be in celebration of my sister's birthday but we didn't do a very good job of that. Happy Birthday anyways, K! Here are a few pics of that day:

Z putted with daddy, Uncle Tim and Papa! he got hot and quit about 3/4 the way through and then came to hang out with me:)

This is our little putt-putt cheater:) He played with me, my mom and my sister. He would hit the ball, then go move it closer to the hole and try again. Even with all the sneaky maneuvers, he did pretty well!

The birthday girl~moved up to the ranks of the upper-20s this year:)

Mugga showing off her slick golfing moves. She won out of the 4 of us:)

Taking a rest in the shade: My mom, Z and moi

I'll post 4th of July pics tomorrow! It makes me hot all over again to look at these pics though. It was SOOO hot most of the week (in the mid-upper 90s). Thank goodness for air conditioning!

More to come tomorrow!