Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For Grandma Pederson

These are the cookies that I made for our Easter dinner at Church- easy and tasty:

Mexican Wedding Cookies (Makes 36)

Ingredients:

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 2 cups flour, sifted
* 1 cup nuts, ground (I used almond meal)
* 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Form into 1 1/2" balls.
3. Bake on cookie sheet at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes or until set.
4. Sprinkle powdered sugar on while still warm.

Cinnamon Breakfast Cake


This is very delicious. I was excited about the simplicity of the recipe too, and how wonderful it made my house smell!

I adapted a recipe that I found to fit my own taste. I am amazed at how MUCH sugar people put into their recipes. Seriously!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour (I used 1/2 all purpose, 1/2 graham flour)

3/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups milk

2-3 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 pinch salt

1 large egg

TOPPING:

1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar, more if desired

2-2 teaspoons cinnamon

2-3 T melted butter

chopped walnuts or pecans (I used almond meal in the main dough instead)


1. Set oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Prepare a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

3. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, milk, vanilla or almond extract, baking powder, pinch of salt and egg until just combined, careful not to over-mix.

4. Pour into prepared baking pan.

5. Generously spread brown sugar and cinnamon on top.

6. If desired, sprinkle chopped walnuts or pecans over top.

7. Drizzle melted butter over top.

8. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cooked through.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bed Head

This is what Luke looks like when he wakes up from a nap:

Friday, April 24, 2009

So, We Have a Plan

After reading the comments from my previous post and talking with a couple of friends, I realize that I really need more structure in my life. When I have too much time that is not already appropriated for this or that, I go nuts. So I developed a plan with Baby Luke this morning as we ate breakfast. I am going to call it a "plan" because if I call it a "schedule" I will freak out about trying to keep it. I tried it out so far today, and I like it.

Here goes:

6:30- 7:00am- wake up and morning snuggles, change diaper, feed baby, etc..
7:00- 8:00am- morning prayers, chores- make Nathan's lunch, tidy up, eat breakfast
8:00-9:00am- exercise- walk or a video depending on Luke's mood and the weather
9:00-10:30am- Luke naps, mommy cleans, has 10 minutes of prayer/silence**, looks up Saint of the Day to read and prints out icon for Luke
10:30-11:00am- snuggles, read, change diaper, feed baby, etc..
11:00-1:00pm- social time (usually a trip out of the house for errands or for coffee)
1:00-2:00pm- noon prayers, lunch, fruit for Luke, music and play time
2:00-3:30pm- Luke naps, mommy cleans, has 10 minutes of prayer/silence**, work on fun project or read
3:30-4:00pm- snuggles, read, change diaper, feed baby, etc..
4:00-5:00pm- Luke plays on the floor, mommy does chores if needed, or plays with Luke, reads out loud, etc..
5:00-6:00pm- dinner prep and walk around the block if Luke is fussy
6:00-6:30pm- dinner with Daddy and evening prayers
6:30-7:00pm- playtime with Daddy, bath, clean-up, into pj's, eat and sleep for Luke
7:00-9:30pm- free time- hang out with Nathan, watch a TV episode, read, projects, etc..
9:30pm- bed for Mommy

I know it looks complicated, but really, its not. The times are approximate. It is what we have been doing for a while now. my hardest part of the day is the 4-6pm time frame when I am tired, Luke is tired and we are eagerly awaiting Nathan's return home.

**I really like this time of day. I began trying to be quiet and pray for 10minutes a day during Lent. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it is an exercise for me to drop everything and be still. I was inspired by Met. Anthony Bloom's book, Beginning to Pray. It changed my life. It is, as the reviewers say, a modern spiritual classic. I so heartily recommend this book that I will send a free copy to the first two people who respond, who haven't read it. Don't put your address on the response, but let me know that you want it and we will work out the shipping details.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Still Trying to Figure Out What to Do With Myself

Luke will be eight months old in a day.

For the first three months of his life, I tried to cope with my new occupation. I tried to get enough sleep. I tried to keep my sanity. I tried to not do anything that might cause Luke permanent damage.

Three to six months- I slept better and developed some hobbies. I joined mom's groups. I cleaned out my closets and got rid of stuff. Still, I was mostly busy with Luke.

Six months to the present- Luke takes great naps (I hope that I don't jinx the nap situation by saying that!). I now have three hours of free time each day. I am feeling lost and overwhelmed by the idea of having free time and not knowing what to do with it. Truly, I want a job. I want to make money again, but there is not much available given the constraints that I have.

I have never been good with free time. The last time my life was this slow-paced was my senior spring semester at Biola. I had 6 units and a very part time job. I would wait anxiously for Nathan to come home each day to rescue me from my loneliness (not his job). I actually got pretty depressed.

Finally, I began working at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for about 16 hours a week. I loved it. I could be creative. I could help people and get to know my customers. I could listen to my co-workers and be a part of their lives.

I am looking for something to do now (when I am not doing the important "mommy-ing") that is both creative and purposeful. Also, it needs to be something that I WANT to do. Something a little different from the mommy/housekeeper position that takes up most of my day. I have tried many things so far- crocheting (I need to work much longer on that before I am any good), cooking (good, but I there are only two of us to eat it), reading (this helps a bit, right now I am reading the oh-so-insightful "Pilgrims Regress"), and a bit of writing.

Anyways, I'll trudge onward. It feels weird to be trying to figure out my interests again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bright Tuesday

A glorious trip to Seal Beach to watch the waves. Now, Luke and his mamma are dancing to fun 80's light rock. Yep, he really is bopping around and trying to sing along. :)

Free Ice Cream!


Don't miss out on your free Ben and Jerry's ice cream!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Holy Week, Pascha, and Recovery

What a whirlwind of a week! Holy Week and Pascha (Orthodox Easter) have kept me more than busy! Here is a bit of our past week:

For the third year in a row, I planned our Paschal Luncheon. It is our church's tradition to eat together after the Easter liturgy and celebrate together. I LOVE planning this event. I LOVE actually cooking it and watching everyone enjoy themselves even more. If someone would pay me, I would do big events like this all the time. (anyone, anyone? :) )

This year, my menu was based on a Mexican/Latin American theme:

Carne Asada
Puerco Pibil (Nathan's specialty)
Chicken Verde
Black Bean and Corn salad
Mexican Caesar Salad
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Tres Leches ice cream

With all the fixings of course!

I went to the Bridegroom Matins service on Monday evening (Luke was already in bed). I enjoyed the freedom of worshipping by myself at one of my favorite services of the whole year. Nathan was extraordinarily busy the next couple of days so stayed around the house to help.

We all went to the Maundy Thursday service. I chanted a few hymns during the foot washing and stripping of the altar. I still remember how much this service meant to me the first time I experienced it. There is nothing like it. Luke enjoyed it quite thoroughly, though did not sleep at all. We got home at 10:00 and Luke was bouncing off the walls. Yes, he was punchy because we were out too late, and he got over-tired. Well, it is once a year.

Friday and Saturday, Nathan and I (and several wonderful helpers) worked all day to get everything prepped and ready. We wanted to stay at least for the Good Friday service, but Luke was in no mood for it. He had slept TERRIBLY the night before and was plain worn out. I knew that he had alread been pushed pretty hard, so we went home.

Yesterday was glorious. I was a bit stressed over the meal (the first meal after everyone has been fasting has to be good!), but with everyone's help, it turned out great.

Luke wore his first buttoned down shirt and looked very cute! Unfortunately, his Target diaper (I will NEVER buy them again) failed after the service and he peed all over himself and me. So, no family photo this year. :( Luckily I had brought a change of clothes for both of us, and we went on with our day.

We have a tradition of ringing bells during the "Gloria" section of the liturgy on Easter Sunday and this scared Luke silly. He cried and cried, but was over it quickly. Poor little guy. He does scare easily- I hold him sometimes to vaccuum.

On the way home, Luke slept (for the first time since he woke up- it was 4:30pm!!) and I ran into our nearest Golden Spoon frozen yogurt shop. Truly, I could go without meat for the rest of my life, but not frozen yogurt! Nathan let me get a whole quart to bring home for my Easter basket. :)

We finished out the day with a few Father Knows Best episodes and were all in bed before 9pm. Ah, sweet sleep. Luke is on his second nap of the day right now, and I am heading for my first.

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tooth #3

Yep, its that time again. Luke woke up 6 times last night. He is working on his upper front teeth. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Paddling Downstream

Luke is becoming quite the water baby. At our mommy and me swim class, he squeals with delight even before he gets into the pool. Once he is in, he begins kicking and splashing like there is no tomorrow! More than one fellow mother has remarked on his voracity for the water, and some move away so that their child does not get splashed on.

Luke also loves his bath. As soon as we started the swim class, he had to be moved from the kitchen sink to the big bath tub. He needed more room to move about and I was done drying off myself and the kitchen. Here is a short clip of our little fish:

video

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Baby Likes the Look



video

Luke likes my new haircut. I do too. Asa general rule, I am now convinced that babies and little kids like big hair.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Daddy's Night Off

Usually, when Nathan comes home from work (between 6-6:30pm), we eat dinner together and then get Luke ready for bed. Nathan plays with Luke while I prepare the bath, set up his bed for the night, pick out pj's, etc... Nathan helps with the bathing and pj-ing of the munchkin, and then I take it from there.

Yesterday morning, Nathan was expressing some fatigue with work and duties at home, so we decided to have a Daddy's Night Off. He could come home from work (or not, and go do something) and the night was free.

Nathan enjoyed this very much. I think, psychologically, knowing that you are free from some responsibility, however big or small, can be a very freeing thing.

So Nathan enjoyed a walk around Fry's Electronics and watching a show or two last night.

The story doesn't end there though. Last night, Luke woke up at 12, 3, 4, and 5, which made for a very tired mama. When he finally got up for the morning at about 7am, Nathan shut our bedroom door, got Luke up, changed his diaper, and took him out to the kitchen with him as he made his morning coffee. I was able to collect myself and even do a little morning devotion before facing the day. Nathan is my hero! We should do this more often!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

7 Things

Luke is now seven months old! Wow, time passes so quickly. He is weighing in at 21lbs, which is pretty much unchanged since last month. Here are some things about him:

1. Luke can sit up very tall, and for long periods of time. Last month he was just starting this and I had to be near him so that I could catch him if he started falling. He loves sitting up and playing with toys.

2. Luke's favorite thing right now is to eat/suck on fresh fruit in his high chair. I cut up some cold fruit from the fridge and put it into this little mesh bag with a handle and give it to him. He beams as I hand it over an then begins gnawing at it ravenously. I wonder if he might be part wild animal. Pears are a special favorite.

3. We have begun a Mommy and Me swim class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Luke LOVES the water. He is not afraid at all, though other kids looked a little worried about him as he splashed and splashed!

4. More teeth must be in our future because the drooling has only increased since the first two teeth came through.

5. Luke can eat pretty much any vegetable and fruit now. He especially enjoys sweet potatoes and mixed veggies in the evenings.

6. Beyond sitting up, this month, our little guy learned how to turn around in a circle and scoot backwards. He loves this new mobility.

7. I have added an afternoon feeding/treat to Luke's diet to keep up with his hunger. He has pretty much held steady at 21 lbs, so I don't think that he is getting too much.