Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quick Update

I don't have time for a real post, but I wanted to update you on our family's status. I came home from the hospital on Friday afternoon. My blood pressure is still being monitored and my legs and feet are as puffy as an elephant--not pretty-- but I am fine. The doctor says that sometimes PIH doesn't go away for a week or two after delivery, and I guess this is one of those times.

Margaret is still in the NICU but doing very well. They removed her gavage tube today (which ran through her nose and down her throat to her tummy, and was used to feed her when she was too tired to nurse or take a bottle,) and as long as she continues to eat well and gain weight, she'll be home on Tuesday--the day she was scheduled to be born originally.

Although coming home without her was emotional, last Wednesday (when I posted last) was by far my hardest day. By Friday I had really allowed myself to be comforted by the Spirit and was reassured that our daughter was well and that she would be home soon. We don't always get exactly what we want when we want it, but the Lord in His wisdom does give us exactly what we need when we need it.

Thank you so much for your prayers, sweet comments, and for you locals who have helped with meals and keeping my kids occupied. We feel so loved and blessed by the Lord through your good deeds.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Before Bedtime Thoughts

It has been an emotional day for me, but this evening I am feeling peace and the love of the Lord and wanted to share here.

The second/third day after my c-sections are always very weepy for me. Anyone else's body work like that? I just know that the day after my c-sections I feel high as a kite, call tons of people, welcome visitors, get up and move around. Then, the next day hits. I am tired and so very sore (it may have to do with the fact that the morphine is totally out of my system by then), weepy, and not sure if I want to see anyone or have anyone see me in my weepy state. I dread every phone call (even though to a certain extent they are good for me) because I fear that I'll start crying in the midst of any conversation--and in most, I do.

So that was today for me. Throw into that the fact that my blood pressure hasn't dropped like they wanted and finally today they started expressing concern about it. And that Margaret has decided at about half of her feedings in the past 24 hours that she'd just as soon not eat, which means that they are feeding her passively (via gavage tube), which means that there is a very good chance she won't come home with me on Friday. Water works.

I tried talking myself through it this afternoon. I tried reciting scriptures to myself that generally help me to remember to have faith. I tried calling my husband (but just sobbed to him to the point that he was sure I was hysterical.) I tried praying but not on my knees, since I couldn't possibly do that right now, and I kept finding my mind wandering. Part of the problem is my pain killers make it hard to focus on much of anything. Anyway, I was a blubbery mess this afternoon.

But tonight I am better. When I went to see and feed Margaret at 6:00 she didn't want to eat, but I held her and loved her and felt some peace returning. I was able to remind myself not to waste energy worrying about things that were out of my control. Then Jared came. He and his dad gave me (and then the baby) a priesthood blessing. Basically, they use the power of their preisthood to bless me with the things that they feel prompted that the Lord wants to tell me. I love priesthood blessings and really felt Heavenly Father wrapping His arms around me tonight. I was also reminded that He gives us trials for a reason and that I shouldn't expect that my life will be without them. Of course I already knew this, but I wasn't really thinking that way. I need to remember that He gives us trials so that we learn to rely on Him and also that His works may be made manifest. He wants me to see His power and blessings in my life, and I need the trials for that.

Margaret ate so well tonight after her blessing. She started out acting sleepy and lethargic as she had been doing, but then all of a sudden she latched on and went to town. She had a great feeding and was bright-eyed for us. We had such a nice time there with her, enjoying our daughter. I left feeling much better. Much, much better.

We still need your prayers. I don't know what is up with my health at the moment, although there is no reason for us to worry either. More importantly, we need to exercise our faith to help Margaret have the energy and desire to eat every 3 hours so that she can come home and be with our family. I know that so many people love us and care about our situation--please pray for Margaret and for me that I won't be a basket case and for Jared that he'll be able to handle me even when I am!

In the meantime, here are a few of the scriptures that have been coming to my head over the course of this week and the trials that we've had (I know I still haven't delivered on the promise of her birth story, but that's for another post. I need some sleep.)

Be still and know that I am God.-- D&C 101:16

Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.-- D&C 90:24

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowlege Him, and He will direct thy paths.--Proverbs 3:5-6

I love the scriptures and am so grateful that the Lord uses them to comfort us in times of need. I am so grateful to be able to turn to Him in my trials and that He hears my pleas. I am grateful to know that He knows my pain, my needs, my fears, and desires to bless me.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Introducing . . .

Margaret Kaylyn
born: June 22, 2009 1:44 pm
weight: 4 lbs 5 oz
length: 18 inches
answers to Margaret, Meg, Meggie, Megs, Baby Meg, and "My Mawrgwet"

I told Jared that we could go low-key this year on my birthday, especially since it was the day after Fathers' Day and a week before our daughter was scheduled to arrive. However, our day was anything but low-key, and culminated in the birth of Margaret. I'll post the birth story soon, but wanted to make sure that those of you who don't follow me on facebook or twitter heard our good news.

By the way, Margaret was my maternal grandmother's name, and Kaylyn is taken from my mom's and my MIL's middle names to honor both of them. Thus, this precious little daughter of ours (and I do mean little-yowsahs!) has some wonderful namesakes to emulate.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Three Favorite Cupcakes

You know me and food! Here are a few things I'm nibbling on lately:

1. My newest nephew, Colin Joseph F.
This sweet little cupcake was born early in the AM of June 16th. He is just perfect and beautiful and tiny and so fresh from heaven.Don't you just want to eat him up? His mom, dad, and big brother are so happy to have him here and his aunt is also quite pleased. The only thing that matches the birth of your own babies is the birth of your SISTER'S babies. My only regret is that I can't be there at the house with them 24/7, but both grandmas are staying there and my kids and I would probably not be the best addition to that tiny house. Sigh.

2. Icing on the Cupcake
This little cupcake bakery nearby-ish is irresistible. I'm just grateful that they aren't around the corner or the temptation would be greater. Here's their menu--each day they have some featured flavors as well as their daily goodness. I've already fallen head over heels for their Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Macaroon. I think when I head back in this week, I'll ask them if they will offer a discount, promotion, or giveaway for my local readers. Anyone interested? Yummy yum yummy!

3. Conversations with a Cupcake
I discovered this blog via Nienie's. She created a special chocolate cake in honor of Nienie (which will be my birthday cake next week, I promise you.) Her blog is both beautiful and choc full of delicious-looking recipes. I'll admit that I haven't made any of them yet, but just reading this blog makes me happy. So go check it out!

What makes you happy today?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Visit to Ancient Egypt

If you think I've stopped posting on this blog, you should visit my neglected homeschool blog. On second thought, DON'T! I have been terrible about posting updates and if you took my reports there to be a measure of our schoolwork, you'd be very concerned about my children's education. I'm really considering merging the two blogs again, because perhaps somehow that will feel less overwhelming than keeping up on them both.

In light of that, I thought I'd post about a recent field trip our little Academy took to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California. We really should have gone back in the fall when we were deep into ancient Egypt, but I didn't know about it then. My kids didn't seem to mind the fact that we were learning about ancient India during the school week and looking at Egyptian artifacts on Friday.

The museum is set on some beautiful grounds with gardens with several buildings built in the ancient style. There was a large outdoor Senet game, which we took advantage of at the end of the day, fountains, and plantings. The museum itself was not large, but they had a surprising amount of artifacts. We loved looking at the mummies, sarcophagi, the toys and jewelry of the ancient Egyptians. There was papyrus and a large diorama explaining family life in ancient Egypt, including how Egyptians welcomed a new baby into the world, which was of particular interest to our family.

There was also a fairly large exhibit of artifacts and replicas from other ancient civilizations including Sumeria, Assyria, and Babylon. The boys were excited to see a replica of the Rosetta stone and of the stele of Hammurabi's Code, as well as an artist's 3-D rendition of what the Hanging Gardens of Babylon might have looked like.

The museum also offered a 40 minute planetarium presentation which we tried but ended up leaving. Brownen didn't make it through the introduction and Ian lost interest almost immediately but managed to sit quietly for about 25 minutes of it. I was surprised that Kimball and Henry did so well with it, as I found it to be a rather dry high-school or college level lecture on the Mithraic Mysteries. I would recommend it for kids at least 10 and older who have an interest in the ancient world, otherwise wait until they are teenagers.

Here are a few shots of the kids playing Senet outside before we headed into rush hour traffic to drive home. I wish that I had taken more pictures of the grounds, but that will have to wait for our next visit.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Arch Enemies

Every superhero has a nemesis. Lex Luthor, the Green Goblin, the Joker--these are some truly BAD guys. Our son Kimball thinks he has a nemesis, too, (although I don't know if you call it that if the nemesis is a duo). These two women are seemingly innocent-- in fact, I count them as one of the tender mercies of the Lord in my life! Bronwen also adores them, cheers when they arrive, and frequently mentions them in her nightly prayers. Who are these deceptively evil creatures? They are our housekeepers.

I have hesitated to write about this otherwise compelling subject because if you have preconceived notions about the kind of people who have housekeepers, we probably wouldn't fit that bill--but if you only know me virtually, you would probably make some assumptions. And I have admitted before that I do care what you think, at least those of you who read often.

We are not wealthy (at least by American standards), and in fact make many sacrifices so that I can be at home with our children. We are blessed, however, to have housekeepers who are willing to trade services with my husband. And I will admit that it makes our life nicer. I could technically function as a homeschooling mother of nearly 5, but I wouldn't have a clean house. And Jared and I both agree that having order and a clean house makes a big difference in our life satisfaction, so it might just be worth it to us if this trade ever runs out. And our children still get plenty of opportunities to help with household cleaning and chores, as once a week is not enough to keep the house clean--it is just enough to stop it from getting away from us completely.

Anyway, now that I've issued my disclaimer, let's get back to the subject at hand: Kimball vs. Housekeepers. Months ago I noticed that he got a scowl on his face whenever their arrival was anticipated. He began complaining that they always put his things in the wrong place, that they remade his bed too tightly (as in perfectly), that they mixed up his and Henry's pillows. And don't get him started on how they move his Lego creations around in the playroom. Anytime he misplaces anything, anytime things aren't just where he expects them to be, he begins grumbling about "the housekeepers".

This always launches me into a little lecture about how lucky we are to have them come, how much I appreciate that they come, and how he is responsible for his own things. "If you put your things away before they come like you are supposed to, they won't move them around," I remind him. But it falls on deaf ears. No one will convince him that the housekeepers aren't out to get him. Each week they hatch another maniacal plot to bring agony into his young life.

In an attempt to teach them accountability and ease Kimball's Monday Anxiety, I have agreed with the boys that if they clean up the playroom and vacuum it before the Terrible Twosome arrive, I will instruct them to skip it. Some weeks that works, some weeks it doesn't. And yesterday when we came home to discover that Kimball's recently lost tooth had been thrown away, he was pretty sure that life as he knew it was coming to an end. (Never mind that I had advised him to stash it in his sock drawer, quite sure that they wouldn't recognize a lone molar swimming in a gallon-sized Ziploc--his doing--as a treasure we were keeping for the tooth fairy. He left it in the middle of his bed and they assumed it was garbage, since it looked deceptively like garbage.) Sigh.

At least he hasn't made any "it's them or me" ultimatums. I would hate to have to choose.

A New Favorite

My friend, Jenni, just opened an Etsy shop a week or so ago and has filled it with GORGEOUS handmade jewelry. You simply must go take a look and then leave me a comment telling me which YOU like best. Or better yet, buy one! I personally respond to turquoise the most, but the stick pearls are also unique and incredibly chic. Here are a few of my favorites, although I have a hard time narrowing it down to just one or two.

Don't you think a nice piece of jewelry would be a lovely gift from a husband to a wife who had just delivered his fifth child? I do!:)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Escape Artist

Do you have one of these at your house?

My two-year old daughter has radar for an open (or even unlocked) front door. The second that the opportunity presents itself, she bolts out the door and over to the neighbor's lawn. Don't ask me why she heads there first. Perhaps she's learned that it gives her a good enough head start from there to run all over the cul-de-sac before I can catch her. When her brothers are out there riding their bikes and scooters, I can at least understand the allure, but when there isn't a soul outside, I just don't understand what she's getting from it. Other than the thrill of watching her great-with-child mother, who is most often barefoot, try to gain enough speed to catch her as she runs, shrieking and laughing, in the opposite direction.

When Ian (now 4) was at this stage, he once pushed out the screen in my living room windows, which sit low, and ran out to the middle of the street. Imagine my horror when I heard honking outside and decided to go check it out, only to find my 20 month old dancing in the intersection! With all the doors locked, I thought I was safe to spend a few minutes in the kitchen without having my eyes on him. I was obviously mistaken.

When Bronwen isn't trying to risk death and kidnapping in the neighborhood, she is busy trying to drag a barstool over to gain access to the butter, the cupboard where I keep vast amounts of chewing gum (which is great occupational therapy for our ASD son), the rising bread dough, or the cashews and raisins. She also adores chewing on other people's toothbrushes, face painting with my lipstick and eyeliner, and pulling out all the clothes in her closet organizer.

In short, this little one is exhausting. And it's not hard to imagine what kind of havoc she may wreck while I'm nursing her younger sister in a few weeks. I can only hope that she'll sit next to me and let me read books to her like her brothers have done.

It's a good thing she's cute.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

South Lake Tahoe-- A Review

On Thursday evening, hubby and I dropped the kids off at some wonderful friends' and headed to Lake Tahoe for a couple of days. We only get away from our kids once or twice a year, so this was a big deal for us. We have been trying to squeeze in a getaway for months and were determined to escape before number 5 joins our brood in 23 days. This departure was not without its last minute drama and crises, but that is a story for another day. The point is, we did make a departure.

Being cheapskates when it comes to lodging, we had gone all over the internet looking for a great deal. I wanted a nice hotel room because the plan for this trip was to basically veg out and do whatever we felt like; if the plan is to sightsee non-stop, the room doesn't matter much, but if the plan is to sleep in, read, maybe catch a movie in our room, then I care more. Jared finally bid on a 3 1/2 star place on Priceline-- he bid $60 a night and proudly announced a few minutes later that he'd won! The place turned out to be this one, which was a great spot for us. They do nickel and dime you a bit when you get there--parking is $12 a night and internet is $6.95 for 24 hours-- but at least the parking is valet and convenient. The bathroom was large and luxurious and I spread out my toiletries all over the granite countertop with delight. The room also had a small kitchenette with a fridge, microwave, coffeepot with Starbucks coffee (if you're into that--we picked up some hot chocolate at the store), two-burner stove, sink, and cupboards stocked with dishes, silverware, and pans. We were impressed with a large TV with DVD/VCR player and a window that actually opened to let in the fresh (albeit unseasonably cold) lake air.

The said resort is actually a timeshare hotel and we were staying in the studio room. Although there was no obligation, the staff at check-in were very persuasive and my husband agreed that we would listen to their presentation while we were there. I quickly told him we weren't going but I eventually succumbed, lured by the promise of a $75 gift card, a voucher to come back, and the fact that we didn't have many plans anyway. We went on the last day and I'll say this: if I was going to buy a timeshare, I'd really consider theirs. The features and amenities were great, they offered wonderful flexibility, I was happy with where we had stayed, and the price was reasonable. What baffled them was that we were unwilling to pop at any price because we don't put vacations on credit. Yes, we plan vacations with our family and as a couple every year, but how nice that vacation is depends on how much money we have IN HAND and are willing to spend, even if the price is great on something that we can't really afford. I guess we are strange folks, but as we are expecting a fifth child, homeschooling, and eat sugar but not HFCS, you already knew that about us.

If you know me well, you know that any trip, party, or holiday is mostly about the food. Of course this was also about being with Jared, but I can be with him and have great food, so why not? I had done a little research before I went, but apparently not quite enough research, as we discovered when we finally went looking for our brunch restaurant Friday morning about 11:00. The place I had picked out was clear at the northern end of the lake, completely opposite us. Even though we had no plans, things could have gotten ugly between us quickly if we'd gone another hour without any nourishment, so we started looking at local spots. Did I mention that I hate just picking out a place based on what it looks like from the street? It's such a risk.

We ended up at Heidi's, a little chalet-style building about 1/2 a mile from our hotel. The concierge had suggested it and a friend of mine with the same name had mentioned that she'd been there before. She hadn't given a rave review as we'd had a quick conversation about it, but at least it had come up. Here's what Heidi's has going for it: Swiss/German pancake house ambience, generous portions, and a menu that looks very tempting when it's nearly noon and you haven't eaten yet. Here were some of their drawbacks: their booths were so narrow that this pregnant mommy had to ask if they had any tables and chairs (they have one such seating arrangement). I will say that at 8 1/2 months I don't carry very large--I just look 5-6 months pregnant from conception on, and then look 4-5 months pregnant for two years post partum:). For what you get, I felt the prices were a bit high (around $10-$13 per plate), and the food had no flavor. Jared had the Country Breakfast, I had the Strawberry French Toast, and we shared their cottage fries. Perhaps I am spoiled, as my husband can and does make a far superior breakfast for us most weekends. We went away disappointed, poorer by $30, but full. Sadly, we agreed that we would have had better food at the IHOP across the street, which didn't convince us to go there next time. We decided to pick up some breakfast stuff for Saturday at Safeway rather than waste our time and money on mediocrity.

We explored the area for a while, especially checking out the vacation home that we've rented for a family reunion in September. It looks like it's going to be perfect for our large family group, and its location on the Tahoe Keys means that we'll be close to a private beach, tennis courts, parks, a swimming pool, and the marina. As the weather was cold and drizzly, we didn't walk on any of the lake paths, but did enjoy the beautiful Tahoe scenery for a while before returning to our room to watch a movie and take a nap. Ah, the sheer laziness of it was blissful.

We had asked the concierge to make reservations for us at Riva Grill for dinner. The website looked promising and a friend had recommended them. But while I tried to nap off a headache Jared read about 53 reviews on the place that mostly complained about how mediocre the food was for the price or raved about their cocktails. He was skeptical, which made me grumpy at first, as I really wanted some good food that night and irrationally blamed him for ruining my chances of Riva being any good! I browsed around on the internet and found nothing but amazing reviews for this place: Evan's American Gourmet Cafe. We decided to call and see if we could get a reservation, since we wanted to eat on the early side anyway, and they got us a table. Everything was absolutely perfect. The restaurant is in a little home nestled in pine trees. There are perhaps 15 tables in the place. Every dish was divine, full of flavor, a gastronomical treat. Although we spent more than our hotel room had cost (remember, we did get a great deal) on dinner, we agreed that it was worth every penny.

We ordered the Hoisin and Orange Glazed Prawns as an appetizer, shared a Butter Lettuce with fruits, nuts, and cheese salad, and munched on their warm, fresh sourdough. Jared actually ordered the Alaskan Halibut entree (a shocker if you know him well) with a lobster potato cake and grapefruit wedges, once the waiter assured him that the halibut had been flown in fresh that morning. I had the Panko-encrusted Chicken with Marscapone Risotto, buttery green beans done to perfection, and an edamame panzanella salad. Every bite was heavenly.

We were full at this point, (I in fact, had half of my dinner left), but we had looked at the dessert menu online and I was determined that we would try some of them. I told Jared it was worth the pain later. The only problem was deciding. For such a small restaurant, their selection was outstanding and at least half of the items on the dessert menu were beyond tempting. We finally settled on a blackberry creme brulee tart and their candy bar torte, which consisted of dark chocolate, cashews, caramel, and coconut baked in a tart shell and served with vanilla ice cream. We moaned through the entire course (probably the entire meal) and agreed that we would happily make the 2 hour drive back just for dinner anytime.

We went and saw Star Trek that night, as Jared really wanted to see it and we weren't paying a sitter, which is always a bonus. As someone who's not a fan of the franchise, I can still say that it was an enjoyable movie, although somewhat violent (not for young kids). Plus, the theater was mostly empty, which meant no teenagers eating and texting loudly behind us. Nice.

The next morning we slept in again and enjoyed croissants with Nutella, fresh strawberries, and Brown Cow yogurt in our room, which was perfect. We went to the said timeshare presentation, which took an hour longer than they had promised (no surprise). We drove around a bit more, looking for a good spot for a family reuion photo and wishing that it wasn't raining. We drove over to Emerald Bay and checked out a bit of the forest over there, passing the Rennaissance Faire which appeared to be going strong inspite of the weather. (I'm all about the Rennaissance but I will admit that I don't understand grown-ups putting on costumes and walking around a fair like that.)

On the way out of town we had lunch at the Sno-Flake drive in, which claims that they've been voted best shakes for 4 years in a row. The burgers were okay, the curly fries good, the sweet potato fries needed more seasoning. The shakes? Jared had the Butterfinger, which I thought was quite good. My Boysenberry had very little flavor and I doubt there were any actual berries involved. Would I go back? Probably for a shake and fries if I was getting a chocolatey flavor. I definitely wouldn't order the Boysenberry and I'd skip the burger. The shakes were nearly $5 a peice, which is fine for vacation without the kids, but could get pricey if you were feeding the whole crew.

All in all, it was a good trip, with the highlights being alone time together and a great dinner at Evan's. Now that we've been up there, we are looking forward even more to our family reunion there later this year, although it won't involve much sleeping in or gourmet restaurant dining. We look forward to having better weather so that we can enjoy kayaking, boating, hiking and biking on our next visit--but for someone only weeks away from delivering a baby, this trip was just my speed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


In each of my pregnancies, there have been Must-Haves. When I was expecting Kimball, I wanted carne asada tacos and Jamba Juice. With Henry it was carne asada and ice cream. (I generally have a thing for red meat in pregnancy--it must be anemia!)

Poor Ian--as a third pregnancy, I can't remember what I wanted, except for sleep. It was neither as unforgettable as my first two experiences nor recent enough for me to recall. Stinks to be the middle child, doesn't it?

While I was pregnant with Bronwen, I couldn't eat enough mangoes. I bought them by the case at Costco and glowered at my children if they asked for one. They were mine, all mine!

With this baby, although I did go through a hamburgers stint, I have mostly been craving sugar and then chasing it down with Tums. Not since my first pregnancy have I consumed so many antacids. Actually, with babies 2-4 I was able to control most of my heartburn by getting regular adjustments from my darling chiropractor husband. But this time I'm either not getting in to see him often enough or my body is returning to it's old ways too quickly, for the respite from heartburn lasts only a day or so after an adjustment before I am back to popping my Tums. Or maybe it's because of all the sugar!

Here's what I'm having with my Tums today.

Click here for the recipe.

I'm looking forward to giving up my Tums addiction in 27 days, although by the time they starve me at the hospital for two days I'll probably embrace the idea of a little heartburn. Did you know that not only do you have to come in for a C-section fasting, but after that they only give you ice chips, then liquids, then garbage like jell-o???? And this to a woman whose milk supply is supposed to be coming in. I'll admit that last time I lied about my bodily functions a wee bit (since they use those as milestones to determine when you get real food.) A girl can only live on liquids for so long.

What can't you live without when you're pregnant?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Baking Bread

The weather this morning is cool and overcast--perfect for baking bread. I broke down last week and got a few loaves at the Orowheat outlet because it was too hot to bake in the middle of the day and my third trimester has left me too tired in the early morning or late night to contemplate such projects. But none of the inhabitants of this house feel the love with store-bought wheat bread, and it's time to get baking.

Once I get the bread raising, we'll be finishing up our Ancient India chapter. I'm pleased to report that yesterday I finished off Henry's first grade math curriculum, taught one of Kimball's last math lessons, and got a new closet organizer in the new baby's side of the closet. I also found a great deal on pink tulle online for the bed skirts in the girls' room (I'm copying a Pottery Barn Kids design); so I didn't have to leave the house! So I'm making progress on that list.

I posted this recipe a year or so ago, but it stands repeating. By the way, if you don't grind your own WW flour, Trader Joe's is now carrying their own brand of white whole wheat flour for $2.99/ 5lb. bag. A great find at a great price!

Mom's Whole Wheat Bread

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • scant Tablespoon coarse kosher salt or 1/2 t. fine salt
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour (I like white wheat flour best, from whole white wheat)
Mix ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, proof the yeast:
  • 3/4 cup very warm water
  • 3 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
When yeast is proofed, add to bread mixture along with:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups white, all-purpose flour
Mix on low or medium to incorporate, then on high for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.

Turn out into bowl sprayed with cooking spray and allow to rise in a warm place for 25 minutes. Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and separate into four loaves. Shape loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Allow to rise for 25 minutes more.

Bake in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Remove from oven and from pans immediately. Rub or brush tops of the loaves with butter. Allow to cool on wire cooling rack. Freeze what you're not going to use today or tomorrow.

Variations: Substitute 1/4 cup of the oil with an equal amount of applesauce. Substitute 1/2 cup flour with equal amount ground flax seed, toasted wheat germ, or leftover oatmeal. Add 1/2 cup sunflower seeds with final 4 cups of flour (my kids don't love this version). Any other variations that my readers can suggest?

Monday, June 1, 2009

30 Days

Today is June 1st. On the last day of this month (unless she is a plan-spoiler like her older sister,) our new daughter will be born. Of course we look forward to that day with excitement and joy, but I will confess that I always also dread labor day--or at least the six weeks that follow. The last 30 days sends me into a frenzy of to do lists and anxiety.

You see, as much as I adore having a new baby, as much as I weep at the miracle of each new birth, as much as I treasure holding that special little child in my arms, I am a wreck after I have a baby. I am not one of those girls who bounces back, showing up at parties in cute clothes when the baby is a week old. Oh, no. When I have a baby, I lock myself in the house, avoiding contact with everyone except my mother, whom I cling to pathetically, and anyone who brings by a meal. I don't get any projects done for a LONG, LONG time, and don't want my picture taken for a year.

So, knowing that I'll accomplish absolutely nothing except for keeping my children alive in the weeks following her birth, my last 30 days are for scurrying around, trying to cram in everything that I won't get to later. Here's my list:

  • Get the girls' closet organized, with a wire organizer and cubbies added for new baby's clothes, blankets, burpcloths, etc.
  • Buy the fabric for the new bedskirt and cribskirt (anyone have a Joann's coupon sitting around?)
  • Dig out the newborn baby clothes from the garage (which are hiding behind a barricade of my mom's stuff); determine which, if any, can be used for a summer baby. Wash them.
  • Take a weekend getaway with my husband. Sleep in. Read a lot. Pay attention to him. Eat out. (scheduled)
  • Look for acts of service to perform every or most days for other people.
  • Go to the temple two more times. (scheduled)
  • Take the kids swimming as much as possible.
  • Win free ice cream for a year.
  • Have at least two playdates for my kids every week in June at my house.
  • Get my ironing pile down to nothing or at least down to the week's Sunday clothes.
  • Take my boys to art camp, twilight camp, and swim lessons (scheduled).
  • Help my sister with her new baby, coming soon . . .
  • Help my mom get settled into her new house, coming soon . . .
  • Read the new writing curriculum I bought for next year.
  • Research and order a science and Latin curriculum for next year.
  • Visit the new homeopathic/holistic pediatrician and make sure he's the right fit for us.
  • Post on my blog more often.
  • Plan and execute Sharing Time every Sunday in June.
  • Stop eating so many sweets--getting down to one a day would be a good start!
  • Drop off some stuff at D.I. and the recycling center.
  • Finish ancient India and China chapters in history.
  • Finish up math curriculum for the year (Henry has one more lesson, Kimball has five.)
  • Mail off a package to Scrappy that was mis-addressed at Christmas time and still sits in my bedroom.
  • Make more pickles (love this recipe from Prudence Pennywise).
  • Get a pedicure.
This list is sure to grow as quickly as I check things off, but I have learned (with one preemie and one baby who decided to be born 8 days before her scheduled c-section, baby shower, and my hair cut-and-color) that we will all survive if the list doesn't get completed. Still, I will be plugging away at it, come what may, for the NEXT 30 DAYS. And hopefully, when labor day comes, I'll be able to relax and enjoy it as much as my hormones will let me!

What are you doing in June?