10/23/14

Baby


Baby came last week: 11 pounds and 22 inches. He's a big guy! He and I are both doing fine, but he has some lingering jaundice, as our other children have had. He's being treated with lights at home now.


After we put the big kids to bed a few nights ago, we discovered that Rapunzel is also undergoing jaundice treatment.

10/14/14

Load-a-day laundry



I am so impressed with myself that I've kept up with laundry for a whole week. I've never been able to make the load-a-day method work until now. While doing it for a week clearly doesn't make me an expert, I'm going to list what has been working for me, mostly for my own future reference:
  • Lower your standards. It's okay to mix whites and lights, or clothes and linens, to get a full load.
  • If you have half a load, find something else to make a full load: change the towels or sheets, or see if any coats or jackets could use a wash. Last week I washed all the gloves and scarves.
  • It's okay to wash a load that isn't quite full.
  • Start your load of laundry first thing in the morning.
  • Put in a load the night before (I recently discovered the delayed start function on my machine and I love it).
  • Do two loads some days if you must.
  • Make sure the kids are giving you their dirty clothes every day.
  • Put it away right away. No leaving it until tomorrow!
  • Enjoy putting away the laundry. (This is much easier when there's only one load.) Think about how blessed you are to have a family to do laundry for and clothes to wear and comfortable beds with clean sheets.

10/13/14

Goals


Last week I set some goals. The first goal was to enjoy the long weekend off school with the kids. It was a success! We had such a nice time together just enjoying each other, getting work done, and visiting the park as much as possible. I'm so glad I had that last little time with them before the baby comes. I know things will be great with the baby too, but it will be an adjustment. It has been so nice to take my kids to the park lately because they can take care of themselves while I relax on a bench. That will definitely change with a baby around!

My other goal is to keep up with the laundry and dishes until the baby comes—because I think it will make life easier for everyone. I was worried at first, but I am doing much better than I imagined. I have been totally caught up with laundry, and to get my load a day in, I have been changing beds and laundering sheets and towels. I've also kept up with the dishes. The secret is to unload the dishwasher as soon as possible after things are clean. Then there's a place to put the dirty dishes.

I've had more energy this past week: I hope it means the baby will make an appearance soon! But meanwhile, I'm running with it, and I've finished several items on my to-do list, including some Christmas shopping and packing hospital bags. There is still plenty to do though, especially cleaning I've neglected in my fatigue.

10/10/14

Sticky toffee cake

Photo by Tiger Lily

This cake is one of my favorites! It is simple and good, and I love the unique flavor and the sticky sauce. I'm starting to prefer cakes with poured toppings over iced cakes (lemon drizzle cake is another I like). This cake is perfect for fall.

———

Sticky toffee cake
Adapted from Baking Day

Cake
1 cup chopped raisins
3/4 cup boiling water
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (whole wheat is fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8" or 9" square pan. Bring water to a boil while you're chopping the raisins. Let raisins sit in boiling water for a few minutes.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Add raisins and water. Stir in remaining ingredients. Turn batter into greased pan and bake 40–45 minutes.

Make sauce by simmering ingredients together for about 2 minutes. Poke cake with fork all over and pour sauce evenly over the top. Let cool at least a little before serving.

10/8/14

Turmeric


Turmeric is my new favorite in the kitchen. I started out just using it in curries, but lately I've added it to all sorts of things, like vegetable soup or cheese-based dishes. I like the yellow color that a bit of it gives, and it doesn't change the flavor much; it just adds a bit of warmth. People say it's supposed to be good for you. I can't lose, right?

Do you use turmeric? In what?

10/7/14

Evening energy



I've noticed that throughout this pregnancy, I've gone through periods of fatigue in which I'm able to do very little during the day, but I finally get some energy after dinner.

I wasn't sure what to do at first, being used to getting the bulk of my work done during the day, but by now I know just to roll with it. It's amazing how much laundry and tidying I can get done in the evening when I've been resting all day.

And sometimes I'm tired in the evening too, and that's okay. This baby can't stay inside me forever! At this point I'm ready to trade one sort of tiredness for another.

10/6/14

Pink cream

Image courtesy of magazineart.org

This week I made a half batch of this pink lotion I found on Pinterest. In the interest of cost, I used shortening instead of coconut oil. The verdict: I like the light texture and it works well. Next time I'll use a different kind of lotion instead of baby lotion, though, so I don't smell like babies (although it will be a pity that it won't be pink).

I'm too lazy to take a photo but mine turned out looking just like the picture in the link.

I'm also envisioning a version with sunscreen instead of lotion for the summer. I haven't been able to find an affordable daily sunscreen/moisturizer I like, but perhaps this will do the job.

9/26/14

No more library


A few weeks ago, I decided to stop checking out library books because I didn't want to worry about returning them when the baby comes.

It's been hard.

Even at $4 apiece for used books on Amazon, my reading habit is getting expensive.
I guess it's time to read all those books I own but haven't read yet!

I have to admit that it has been fun to buy books for a change, only it seems wasteful if the book turns out to be something I'll never read again. Normally I only buy books that I know I'll read over and over again, or books that I know will take me a very long time to read.

Do you buy books or check them out? Which do you prefer?

9/18/14

Recently tried recipes


Apple cinnamon oatmeal bread. We loved this, even without the glaze. I will definitely make it again. Oh, and did I mention it's super easy? I didn't combine the wet/dry ingredients separately first; I just mixed everything together. I subbed whole wheat flour with no problems.

Sesame cucumbers. I used the sauce from this recipe over cucumbers instead of noodles. Yum!

Chocolate chip butter cake. Really good! Bonus: the batter is thick enough that the chocolate chips don't sink.

Lion House rolls. These were perfect. I've wondered in the past why I can make such nice loaves of bread but my rolls never turn out. These rolls turned out beautifully.

Baked spaghetti. We liked this, which is good, because I made extra to freeze. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta.

Cup of cocoa cake. A nice, dense cake. I found myself wishing it had some sort of glaze or icing.

Broccoli quinoa casserole. We made this without the chicken. Super yummy! Even the kids who didn't want to taste it at first were converted.

9/15/14

Red Chief makes brownies


Yesterday I let Red Chief make brownies. By himself. The brownies turned out great (yay!), but somehow we ended up with a boy covered in cocoa powder, cocoa footprints going across the carpet, and a big cocoa mess on the counter. He took a quick bath while the brownies were in the oven, and I took over clean-up to avoid further disaster.

It was worth it. He was so proud.