Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sometimes my cravings pay off!

Tonight I had a craving for fish!

I had some frozen cod and so I decided I wanted a little sauce for it.

So . . .

I made baked cod with a lemon butter sauce - yummo!! I also served it with Leek and Carrot Brown Rice Pilaf. The rice was a little sticky but still tasted great!

Sorry . . . no picture because I was too busy eating (and feeding) the meal!


I also have to mention that I am oh! so! thankful! because my oldest daughter has become such a good helper to me. The child has always enjoyed cleaning but lately if I start her off on something (picking up her room - which can be TRASHED in one day) she'll do it all by herself - perhaps with a little guidance of where things go. This has been saving my back lately and really helping to keep the toy population a bit under control. She also checks on her sister if I ask, gets me diapers (and throws them away), and lets the dog outside and inside. There are many times that my weary, pregnant body just does not want to move another step to do these tasks so they are very helpful! I hope she'll continue to be helpful as she grows but I know she will! I've been talking a lot about all the tasks that a new baby will need help with so I'm hoping that she'll enjoy helping and not get too jealous when the time comes.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The great Paci Dilemma!

I have a confession to make . . . my 3-year old (who just turned 3 - 2 weeks ago) still uses pacifiers to sleep for naps and at night. She MUST have one in her mouth and one in her hand for complete comfort.

I thought she'd be ready at 3-years-old to give it up but now I'm not sure. I live by the rule in parenting that I try not to mess with a good thing unless absolutely necessary. Abigail was 2 1/2 when she moved out of a crib, a little older when we started potty training, etc. And it has worked . . . marvelously!

I am home alone with the girls a few days ago. I put Abigail to bed (maybe I'll post another time about how she's fighting bedtime like crazy these days!) and then headed upstairs to read in bed myself. About 1/2 hour later I hear her start to wail in her room.

I gave her a few minutes but she did not calm down so I went to check it out.

Her answer when I opened the door to ask what was wrong . . . . . . . . . "I can't find my PACI! Waaaaa!!"

Oh my goodness!

She got a scolding from me about how crying over a paci is not appropriate and that she is a big girl and can get out of bed and find the paci without disturbing me.

I had no problems with her after that.

Now . . . on to nap time the next day. Upon closer examination of the four paci's in her room - I found minuscule holes in all of them. I'm not about to let my child suck on a pacifier that has a hole in it so I threw them away. Bring on the tears!

I know that I should have been strong and just said, "Well, I guess that's the end of the paci's honey" but I wanted her to nap so I broke down and gave her one of Elsie's newer paci's. Ugh! She, of course, still continued to cry because she didn't have a second paci.

So . . . any other moms have experience with giving up the pacifier? We're about to give her a twin sized bed instead of a toddler bed and she wants it so bad. I'm thinking that might be good leverage for her to try and give them up all together - that a big bed means she's a big girl who doesn't use pacifiers.

I don't want to ruin the good pattern that I have worked so hard to put in place - a good sleeper (for the most part) - but I don't want her to have to bring a paci with her to sleep at college (okay, so I realize that's a big far fetched).


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Naming the boy!

You knew I'd write about it sometime. Right? We have to name this little boy. Of course, Andrew and I have always been very tight-lipped about the final name chosen for our kids. I think several people guessed Abigail but as far as I know, nobody guessed Elsie's name! :)

However, we like to hear opinions during the process (just not on the final name) so . . .

I'm releasing our current name list!

Now, don't freak out too much when you see some of these. Some of them are names that I LOVE but Andrew has vetoed and vise versa. So, some are not really in consideration but 1/2 of this parenting team! :) Also, some of them are just funny to us so we put them on the list!

In no particular order:

Emmett Schechter
Eli Schechter
Matthias Schechter
Noah Schechter
Aaron Schechter
Levi Schechter
Eli Schechter
Titus Schechter
Henry Schechter
Judah Schechter
Tobias Schechter
Adam Schechter
Anders Schechter (Means Son of Andrew - ha ha ha ha!!)
Barrett Schechter
Cedric Schechter
David Schechter
Elias Schechter

Feel free to post your votes/thoughts in my comments section! :)

Abigail "isms"

She says funny stuff all the time. I'm afraid that if I don't write these down, I will forget!

Some of these are less funny and more just insightful.

  • Today while driving around in the car she said, "Green means go, Red means stop, and Yellow means careful". I knew that she knew what the red and green meant at a stop light but I was shocked when she said the part about yellow.
  • She stayed the night with her grandparents two nights ago and got them up several times for different "needs" during the night. When I asked her why, she explained that she had to go the bathroom (a ploy to get out of bed) and that her antics "made Papa very tired".
  • A few weeks ago, I was sitting in Andrew's office while he worked and we chatted. Abigail was playing in the basement and lost her ball behind a few pieces of lumber. Andrew got the ball for her (which I guess I didn't see) and when I asked her if she had found her ball she said (in a very - "duh, mom"-like voice), "Yeah, Daddy's strong. He can get the ball for me." Ha!
  • She has been playing more and more with her baby dolls these days. Lately she'll make one of the baby dolls come up and "hit" me and then she'll take the doll to have a "talk" and a 3-minute "time out". This is particularly funny to me because in all of the incidents in our house where Abigail has been in trouble, I cannot ever remember a time when she has hit someone or been in trouble for hitting!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Days like this

Have I used that title before?

Hmm . . .

I know I have talked about failure before so I'll skip the details.

Let's just say that the awful word . . . "failure" lurks at me around every corner - especially every mothering corner.

However, I am encouraged today knowing that it is in my failure and weakness that Christ can show His greatness. I don't have to be perfect (house, kids, looks, etc) to make a difference. I certainly need reminded of this today!

Phil 4:13 - I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I am taking that verse to heart even though my efforts, next to those of others, (ugh! comparisons don't do anyone any good) look pitiful and dull.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


So yesterday I managed to make a successful batch of "Grandma Bread" even though I ran out of flour. You see, she uses only bread flour. I started with that but only had 3 cups, so I switched to just white flour - which I ran out of, so I switched to whole-wheat pastry flour. I figured that it would be dense but it wasn't too bad - much better than my other attempts. I think the key was finding out from her the exact rising times because I can never tell when "double" is on a rising dough and that seems to have made a huge difference.

I also completed the banana bread - of which I think we've almost consumed a whole loaf already.

I also managed to complete the lasagna before 4 pm. I felt bad because a few points during that process I had a crying, fussy 15-month old sitting at my feet and grabbing my legs. I ignored her for a while, finished my task and then attended to her.

She's better (no fever and no runny nose) but man-oh-man she's been C.R.A.N.K.Y lately. My suspicion is that she has two front teeth and a molar also coming in. I gave her Tylenol finally today after hours of fussing and she perked up within about 15 minute. I don't like to medicate but even I have limits!

We were also able to celebrate Valentine's Day together after my generous mother-in-law offered to keep the kids so we could go out together. Andrew and I couldn't remember exactly the last meal we had eaten alone together but we think it was for his birthday - could have been November, though. We also saw "The King's Speech" which was an excellent movie. I think the last movie I had been to was last summer but I can't say for sure on that either!

Let me tell you, it just felt like pure luxury! I had the most delicious Crab-Stuffed Sole with Sauteed Veggies and Rice Pilaf for dinner - someone else made it and someone else cleaned it up and it was divine!! I also could just sit and eat without feeding anyone else or cutting anyone else's food! Woo!

When we got home I finished the marinade for the chicken, which I will finish up here in an hour or two.

I didn't get to the last thing on my list! Actually, shock-of-all-shocks . . . my husband reads my blog. I mean, I knew he read my blog . . . like as in once-a-month reading or something like that but when I talked to him yesterday he questioned me about the "surprise". Oops! Well, I didn't get it done.

He leaves tomorrow for his 5 1/2 day business trip! Wish me luck! I know I'll be fine with the girls. I'm trying to think of close attrations we can go to during the day to get out a little but it is hard to do in the winter and for free. :) I am looking forward to having my bed to myself for a whole week. Andrew is not a good sleeper and lately the tossing and turning has been keeping me awake too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What I'm doing today . . .

Cooking! It wasn't really in the plan to make so much today but Elsie seems to finally be on the mend so I my hands and lap will be a bit more free today.

1) Making Grandma bread (Andrew's grandma) - if you live in this area you know how good this is! My last few attempts have been semi-flops but I found out from her that she only uses bread flour. I don't have quite enough bread flour for the whole recipe but I'm hoping that 1/2 will at least make it lighter. Oh, the main reason that I'm making this? . . . is that we're out of bread. I know I could just run to the store but I'm trying to do things cheaply.

2) Making Banana bread - I had some old bananas and I'm taking food to a couple in our church tomorrow who just had a baby, so they will get a loaf.

These two are already started at this point so they will definitely be done today. The following three could be derailed by children, my tired self, or any other number of things.

3) Making Lasagna - I'm trying to double several recipes and freeze half for when the baby comes. I know I'll have plenty of time and people who will bring be food but long after the food stops coming, I will still have 3 very young children and I know it will be nice to have some healthy homemade meals I can pull from the freezer and put into the oven. I already have a chicken pot pie made so lasagna is next on the list.

Anybody have any more good freezer meals? I have several others on my list but I'm going to try to make one a week for a while.

4) Start making Baked Chicken Breast Surpreme - this is what I'm making for the couple in our church tomorrow. It has to marinade overnight so I need to start it today.

5) Making A Suprise: I'm also trying to fit in the time to bake a special treat for my beloved husband - since it is valentine's weekend. He leaves on Sunday for 5 1/2 days in Boston so we won't probably get to celebrate valentine's day this year - not that we do much anyway. I can't remember the last time we had a meal alone together, November maybe. My memory fails me. Oh well, our time will come! :)

Whew! I'm going to go lay down while my bread is baking and the other bread is rising.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

15-months old

Dear Elsie,

You are 15-months old and as fun as you can be!

Isn't that the cutest picture??!!

You are joy to be around with a very sweet personality. You started walking, I mean really walking (more than two steps) a two weeks ago and you have been on the move ever since. Now I rarely see you crawl. Sniff sniff! You are growing up so fast!
You love to be entertained by your sister, as long as she doesn't get too close, too loud, for very long. You are easily entertained by yourself, playing with a random plastic or wooden toy. It just makes it better if you can bang two things together. You LOVE to eat, I really mean EAT! Several nights at dinner I noticed that you had eaten the same serving size as me and your sister. Wow! You love to feed yourself and to make a mess with your food - which is a relatively new concept in this house but fun none-the-less.
Your doctor check up was yesterday and we found out that your head is still 95% (don't remember the measurement), you are 30 inches long - which puts you at about 50% for length, and only 18.5 pounds - which has caused you to drop off the chart for weight.
The doctor said that he is not concerned, however, because of how beautiful you look. You still have quite a bit of baby chub on your legs, belly and chin and you love to eat. I am going to try to help you gain a bit by increasing your milk to twice a day and be sure to let you eat until you're full. I try to do this already but it's hard to know with a 15-month old.
And today, my love, you are sick! This is only the 2nd time in your life you've ever run a fever and you just don't know what to do - except sleep! It was 101 when you woke up, 104 after your morning nap, and 102 after lunch and Tylenol. I'm trying to make you more comfortable by giving you some Motrin as well. I hope it works, poor sick baby! You don't seem to have the sniffles or an upset tummy and you even played for a bit downstairs.
I love you my darling, second-born daughter. Your sweet personality and joy greet me each morning and I am so thankful to be your mommy!
Feel better soon!

Monday, February 07, 2011


Oh my friends, can I be real and honest with you for a bit? That is what our sermon was about this morning and while I certainly don't share everything on my blog, what I do write about is true and authentic.

Right now I'm struggling with something. . . for the first time since we got married, I will not be bringing in one dime of income for our family.

Wow. I didn't know giving this up would be so hard.

The first year of our marriage, I was still in school so Andrew worked to support us, yet, I still worked a part-time job. Then I was out of work for two weeks when we moved here, and I did quit my full-time job in November '09 to be at home with the kids yet since that time I've always found it possible to help out financially in some way - whether it was insurance money, voice lesson income, or a small part-time job.

I can't really figure out why this is so hard for me. My husband wants me to do it and I realize that as a mom with three very young kids, my priority needs to be at home right now.

These are just the possible reasons for feeling so challenged by this:

  • In my generation, there is not much value placed on women who stay at home with their kids.
  • I feel like I will have nothing of my own if I don't actually make an income.
  • I will be totally dependent on another human for my needs (I know I have done this before but it's just different as an adult).
  • I won't have an excuse to "get away" once a week or so to work.
  • I feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment from completing a task for work than I do from cleaning out the dishwasher, laundry, or changing a diaper.
  • I am an incredibly short-sighted person so while I know there will be many years for me to help contribute financially to the family, it's hard for me to see when these years of little ones with big needs will end.
  • I manage the budget and know the household expenses. My husband is a very capable provider and I know he can make the extra we need to cover everything but I also want to be a help and to not place that extra burden on him.

I'm quitting to focus on my family and because I cannot put in the hours that my employer has requested. I know that is not fair to them.

Tuesday may be my last day at work. I'm not sure yet. On the bright side, I am looking forward to having my free time - a.k.a. nap time - available to do other things, like blog or clean or even relax (what a concept).

Anyway, I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's really funny that I would follow up my last post with this one. Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite - especially if they are under-baked and gooey. Yum!

In my quest to eat a little better I have searched for an alternative chocolate chip cookie that wouldn't contain shortening, could be made with whole wheat, and less sugar or a sugar alternative.

I couldn't really find one that was good, honestly. The few I tried fell flat, literally. The cookies were runny, or flat or crispy.

So . . . I took my old favorite basic chocolate chip cookie recipe and simply modified it by changing the ingredients.

The verdit . . . . YUMMY!! The only problem with these cookies is that my mind thinks they are "healthier" so I tend to eat too many. Now keep in mind that they are still cookies. I wouldn't eat them for breakfast or label them as a health food but as far as a cookie goes, they are better than store-bought or your "regular" chocolate chip cookie.

Here's the recipe:

Jaime’s Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick real butter, softened (preferrably from grass-fed antibiotic and hormone-free cows)
3/4 cup Sucanat
1/2 cup pure cane sugar (can also use raw turbinado sugar)
1 fresh free-range egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (scant)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached white flour (sometimes I use all whole wheat pastry)
1 tsp aluminum free baking soda
1 tsp unrefined sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips (can find grain-sweetened chocolate chips)

Instructions:Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla and beat until foamy. Add flours, salt and baking soda. Stir just until mixed. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop in rounded balls onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 7-8 minutes (or perhaps slightly less). Remove from oven before they are fully done in the middle for a cookie that stays soft and chewy the next day.

If you make these, let me know what you think!!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Show Us Your Life - What do you feed your kids?

Show us your life is hosted by Kelly over at Kelly's Korner Blog. I have never participated before but since this is a subject near and dear to my heart - feeding my children healthy foods, I am going to share a bit.

I have always had a very strong conviction that kids need to be fed healthy and whole foods from the very start of life. To me this means breastfeeding . . . no matter what the cost.

I'm not going to turn this into a breastfeeding discussion and I know that there are honestly some people that cannot breastfeed due to medical concerns but those are few and far between. It wasn't easy for me either but it was a commitment that I made to myself and to my kids when they were born.

When my kids started "solid" food, I started to do my research. I learned that white rice cereal is probably not the best choice for a first food. First of all, it just contains simple carbs which the body will just turn to sugar. Also, if you are breastfeeding, you are taking a perfect and fatty food (which children desperately need for brain development) and substituting it for a food with no fat and very little nutritional value.

So I actually started my kids on bananas. We soon progressed to other mushy and fatty things like avocado and quickly added in fruits and veggies.

My oldest cutie pie, Abigail, learning how to eat!

I honestly think one of the main keys to success when getting a child to eat healthy foods is a very simple one . . . start as you mean to go on. I have consistently offered my kids a fruit and a vegetable at almost every meal, whole grains, and healthy meats. They don't know what white bread or white rice is so they don't ask for it.

Sweet Elsie!

Now . . . does this mean I feed my kids perfectly? Definitely not! Not only do I have a husband to contend with (sorry dear!) who tends to lean towards cheaper and not quite as whole foods as I prefer, and we are trying to do all of this on a budget. I also find it difficult to cook in early pregnancy and so I'm sure my kids ate their fair share of junk during that time (I don't really remember!)

My main line of defence when it comes to this is . . . cooking from scratch. My kids eat macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, and pizza but you won't find me opening a can or calling a store to get these items. I usually make it all from scratch. That way I know what goes into each food, I can substitute whole grains (like pasta) for the white ones and add or take out things that are "unhealthy".

Here are some of my favorite meals that are simple and easy to cook for kids:

  • Eggs and Toast - both my kiddos love scrambled eggs and buttered whole wheat toast for breakfast. Had it this morning - actually.
  • Fruit - We usually have bananas, pineapple, pears, grapes, or peaches.
  • Whole Wheat Pancakes or Waffles - I make these from scratch one morning a week, usually and we'll munch on them for the rest of the week. Use real maple syrup or honey instead of syrup containing HFCS.
  • French Toast - yum. My husband usually makes this on the weekend - again usually with whole wheat bread.
  • Smoothies - I don't get around to making these very often and the reason is because I don't often have a wide variety of fruit available. I always have fruit but it's usually just one or two options at a time. I want to start doing more of this, though.

*My kids don't eat much cereal. When they are babies I usually give them whole grain organic "o"'s to practice eating finger foods but beyond that we don't generally eat cereal in our house. My youngest daughter drinks a low-pasteurized, non-homogenized, grass-fed antibiotic and hormone-free milk once a day but my oldest daughter has never had milk - and now doesn't want it!

  • Almond butter sandwiches! Lots of good protein and I do put a little jam on there for a sweet taste. You must read the labels or make your own on this to make sure it doesn't contain HFCS.
  • Egg Sandwiches. A family favorite! I usually add a slice of natural cheese (not processed!) to boost fat content for the kiddos and calories.
  • Peas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Carrots - these are our favorite veggies and we need to branch out a bit but both of my girls eat these really well.
  • Macaroni and Cheese - yes I do this for lunch sometimes but I either make it from scratch with my own cheese sauce and whole wheat pasta or I use an Annie's Organic Box.
  • We do occasionally have grilled cheese but again I only use cheddar or a similar cheese - not American.


There are so many things I could put here but I will just write down some of our favorites.

  • Meatloaf and veggies. I have a great recipe from Passionate Homemaking for Meatloaf. You make your own bread crumbs (the ones from the store can contain nasty stuff), and your own ketchup mixture for the top (again . . . regular ketchup is full of sugar and usually HFCS).
  • Homemade Pizza. I buy nitrate free pepperoni and my pizza sauce from Whole Foods and I usually make the dough from scratch.
  • Spaghetti. Again, I use a whole wheat pasta, organic jarred sauce and grass fed beef.
  • Carol's Mexican Chicken. Yummy and easy mexican dish. Chicken breast in a crock pot with whole kernel corn and black beans. Mix in taco seasoning (again making your own - the store stuff has additives) and sour cream at the end. Yummy!

I'm sure there's more but that's all my ideas for now.

*Note on picky eaters: Perhaps I have been blessed by kids that are just simply not picky but my girls generally eat great. I think that a lot of it has to do with our expectations. I always try to cook foods that they are able to eat but not necessarily their favorites. For example, I refrain from making steak sometimes because it is hard for little girls to eat that. However we just expect them to eat what is cooked. My 3-year old does have preferences and after she has tried something she will say she doesn't like it. That's fine with me. I will simply put it away but if she gets hungry later, that is what is getting pulled out of the fridge.*

Again, in no way do I feed my kids perfect food. I strive to do my best and then I forgive the times when I might feed them something a little questionable (so long as it doesn't become a habit). I'm sure there are many things I could put more effort into and many other foods I could introduce them to at this point.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Happy Birthday, Abigail

Happy Birthday to my wonderful, silly, darling, facinating, dramatic and lovely daughter, Abigail!

What a wonderful and crazy 3 years it has been, darling. I'm looking forward to all the rest!!

8 days old.

Talking with Grandma RoRo a few weeks ago.
Trying on Mama's glasses - silly girl!