Monthly Archives: March 2009

Life is not complete…

…until you have had these muffins.

And after that slightly complicated bit of baking I am reminded of why I have two different mixers (Kitchenaid Stand and Hamilton Beach Hand), a Kitchenaid food processor with a chopping/grating blade, several mixing bowls, two Wilton muffin pans, and a whole host of other utensils that filled my sink after completion.

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Filed under Gourmet Lisa, Homemade

Eye Candy Friday: Too cute not to share

Earlier this week we decided to reintroduce ourselves to our old friend the rocking horse. I think this one is the best of the bunch:

And this is how I started my day today:

Happy Friday everyone, I’m off to the nursery in just a few.

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Contest winner, another recipe and Hotel Wuertz/Craftopia Headquarters

Thanks to everyone who entered my little contest. I had 8 entries. I didn’t feel like searching the web for a randomizer so I just did it the old fashioned way. Names on paper in a hat. So drum roll please…


Bean was my special little helper for picking the winner.


Names in the hat.


Mixing up the entries.


Yep, she’s teething folks, so of course she used her mouth to pick the winner.


And the winner is Morgan, aka Mrs. Priss.

Congrats Morgan. I’ll be e-mailing you for your address by the end of the day.

Moving right along…

I am loving, loving, loving Filo dough and all the stuff you can do with it. I’ve seen it and premade puff pastry dough used all the time on cooking shows, but could never find the stuff in Bakersfield. Last night I made a pot pie of sorts that I’d like to share with you because it was super yummy.

Filo Chicken Pot Pie
Ingredients
-1/2 large onion, chopped
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1 small bag frozen peas and carrots
-tips from 1 bunch of asparagus
-1 large chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
-1 can cream of celery soup, not condensed
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-2 tbsp all purpose flour
-salt and better to taste
-Filo dough
-2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Directions
Preheat oven to 400.

In a small stock pot saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Stir in peas and carrots and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until peas and carrots are defrosted and tender.

Meanwhile, salt and pepper chicken and then brown in frying pan. Reduce heat and continue cooking until insides are no longer pink and juices run clear.

Mix heavy cream and flour together. If you are having trouble getting the flour to dissolve add a little of the soup to the mixture. Add soup, cream mixture, and asparagus tips to the stock pot. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until mixture thickens. Add cooked chicken to the stock pot and mix in well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour mixture into high rimmed baking dish. Crumble Filo over the top of the pie filling. Reduce oven heat to 375 and put dish into oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until Filo is golden brown on top.

Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Serve.

And if my cooking isn’t enough temptation to bring visitors, perhaps our guestroom, aka Hotel Wuertz/Craftopia Headquarters will be…


I probably won’t leave the iron and so much craft stuff out when we have actual visitors, but this is what it looks like on a normal, day-to-day basis.


My workspace, although sometimes this shifts to the kitchen table downstairs for really big projects.


That entire dresser is filled with all my sewing stuff now. It used to house sewing, scrapbooking and knitting stuff, but the sewing stuff is taking over!


Knitting and ribbons got shifted to this little end table. Scrabooking stuff is in a plastic drawer thingy in the closet now.


Another cute lamp from IKEA and the sweet view of the pool and trees outside.

Hope you’ll visit soon!

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More on the sleeping stuff

So when I set out to “stretch” Bean’s night time feedings, I actually wanted to go really, really slow.

Since, on average she was waking up at 4am most nights, I knew she could go at least that long. My goal was to stretch her to 4:30am this week and increase in half hour increments each week after that.

Well, Saturday she woke up at 3:30am. So Stephen paced with her until 4 and then I nursed her to sleep. Sunday she woke up at 4am and Stephen lasted about 20 minutes before handing her off to me. I was sort of getting frustrated because he wasn’t lasting very long with the soothing and distracting. Plus, I was kind of mad because for all these months I’ve been getting up and staying up through at least the feedings and longer if I wasn’t able to fall back asleep.

Anyway, on Monday she woke up at 5:20am. Since this was past our goal of 4:30am we didn’t even try to stretch her any more that night. Tuesday she woke up at 5:40am and again we didn’t try to stretch her at all, just fed and then back to sleep. She actually slept until 9am after that one feeding.

So I was like, “YES! It is really working!!!” I was so excited that she was getting it all on her own.

Well, last night it was starting to seem like we were going to have a big regression, but in fact it turned into a nice little breakthrough.

Bean woke up at 4am. Stephen changed her diaper and paced the halls with her until 4:18am. Then he came in the room and said, “What do you want to do? She’s wide awake and she’s not going back to sleep. I’ve stretched her for 18 minutes. I’m sure we can expect a regression here and there. It’s not that big of a deal.”

I was pretty frustrated. I said, “Well, we know she can make it until 5:30am, so I don’t want to feed her before then. I know it is a long time to stay up, but we have to stay consistent.”

Stephen indicated that he would be “dead” at work today if he stayed up. So I decided that I would try my hand at the soothing and distracting expecting that I probably wouldn’t be able to make it last much longer considering our previous attempts at me doing this.

I paced and swayed and rocked. This time was different. She didn’t flail and cry and thrash. As 4:30am approached she was still wide awake, just looking around at everything. I decided to head downstairs and see if she wanted to play with some toys for a bit. She wasn’t interested, she just wanted to cuddle with me. So I picked her up and walked around swaying her and rocking her.

My arms started to get tired so I sat down on the floor for awhile with her in my lap and rocked back and forth. I decided to start humming some lullaby that I can’t remember the words to. Slowly her body began to stop being so tense. She eased into the curve of my arms and started going limp. My arms feeling rested, I picked her up and rocked and swayed some more until she became a deadweight and was fast asleep.

I made my way upstairs and began trying to put her down in her bed. She rolled over as soon as she touched the mattress and began to cry. Into my arms again, but this time she was back out in a couple of seconds. We repeated this back and forth until I was feeling desperate for a rocking chair and thinking I was going to definitely not make it. Finally, 5:30am approached. I had been rocking and rocking on my feet for close to an hour now. I decided to try and lay down with her in our bed. As soon as the rocking stopped she was awake again. I got back up and paced some more. At 5:35am I had reached my breaking point. I just couldn’t stay awake much longer rocking a heavy sleeping baby. I decided to lay her down. Again she rolled and cried. I decided I was going to go get Stephen and see if he could be more successful with the transfer from arms to bed because I’m so short that every time I would try to put her in the crib her leg would hit the railing or I’d have to jossle her in some way to get her up above it which was the precursor to the waking.

But, miraculously, by the time I reached our room a second later, the crying had stopped. She had found her comfortable position and drifted back off. I laid down in bed thinking it wouldn’t last, but it did!

At 8:45am I began hearing her stir a bit. I got up and even though she wasn’t actually awake yet I scooped her up and began our day.

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Week Twenty Six

I really didn’t think that there would be anything new today since the big six months stole the thunder. But just now she started doing this…

And that is what I like to refer to as the “grandpa tongue” because both my dad and Stephen’s dad stick their tongues out to the side like that when they are working on something or I don’t know why all the time, but they so do that!

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Back… for realz.

OK so we finally, finally have the real live, fast Internet set up in our apartment and it is awesome. No more driving to Whole Foods, Panera or Ruth’s house. No more mooching off some neighbor’s wireless network that is really slow and patchy. The Internet is ours!

Last night as I was laying in bed and trying to fall asleep knowing that the Internet would be back this morning I kept thinking of this huge list of things I wanted to write about and do. I’m not sure if this post will live up to everything I dreamed up, but here goes anyway.

Bean is six months old today!

She is so, so close to crawling. Mostly she just rolls around, does the fish out of water swimmer/army man scoot, and bounces on her bottom while sitting to get where she wants to go. She is pushing up and pulling up and man she wants to go, go, go. Sometimes she gets really, really frustrated that she can’t quite figure it out which leads to a meltdown and is not fun for Mama. But mostly she is her smiley cute little self.

You may have noticed that I dropped off on the measurement pictures. I sort of forgot to do the five month one and I’m probably not going to get around to doing the one for this month. Bean had a well baby check the Friday before we moved though and these were her stats: 16lbs 10oz, 25 inches long, and I can’t remember her head circ.

Not allergic!
At that appointment I found out that miraculously I am no longer allergic to nuts. My doctor said that a combination of avoidance and pregnancy are probably the culprit for my recovery. I am so, so happy to not be allergic anymore. Last night I enjoyed ice cream with a heath bar in it and some of Stephen’s with Reese’s. I also had a cookie yesterday that had some kind of nut in it. In both instances I had absolutely no allergic reaction and I definitely didn’t die. 🙂

Where my day goes
In an effort to be able to account for my time a little better so that I don’t always have to say at the end of they day, “I did nothing today.” I am starting to keep a log of what goes on.

I am also doing this so that I can kind of figure out what Bean’s schedule is during the day. I know she has one, just wanting to know what it is so I can plan my day out a little better.

So are you curious as to where my day goes? Well I hope you are because this is it:

Monday, March 23
5:20am – Bean up, fed and diapered then put back to sleep.
8am – Both of us up. Went downstairs, did dishes. Ate blueberry muffin. Tried to give Bean some solids, but she wasn’t in the mood and was just making a mess so I put it away.
8:45am – diaper change, clean up, got Bean dressed
8:50-9:15am – fed Bean. Tried to put her down for a nap, but she cried and woke back up as soon as I set her in the crib.
9:15-9:45am – checked e-mail/Facebook/blog (which was really slow going and I just got frustrated) while Bean played on the floor.
9:45-10:05am – switched out laundry, folded dry stuff. Unpacked and put away two boxes of linens while Bean played in her walker.
10:05-10:20am – put away dishes and started a new load while Bean played on the floor. She was starting to get fussy so I gave her some teething tabs. I played with her a bit, but she was obviously very tired and needing a nap.
10:35-10:45am -nursed Bean until she fell asleep.
10:45am – Bean took a nap and I took a shower.
11:20am – done showering and getting dressed/put together. Started to make a sandwich, but Bean woke up. Changed her diaper. Went back to sandwich making. Phone rang and had to answer it. Finally got to eat my sandwich at around 12:15pm.
12:35am – fed Bean some carrots mixed with breastmilk and mashed up brown rice.
1pm – Bean done eating. Cleaned her up and changed her diaper.
1:20pm – put away dishes, switched out laundry and folded dry stuff.
1:30pm – sewed a few quilt squares together, but Bean was getting fussy and needing another nap.
1:50-2pm – nursed Bean until she fell asleep
2-3:15pm – Bean took a nap and I planned our menu to try and incorporate all the veggies we got from Abundant Harvest.
3:15pm – Bean up, changed her diaper. Folded laundry and started some more.
3:30-4:30pm – walked to Whole Food to get a few groceries and a snack
4:30pm – played with Bean for 15 minutes
4:45-5:05pm – Bean nursed until she fell asleep
5:05-5:50pm – made dinner, when it was done I checked on Bean and she was still asleep.
6:10pm – finished with dinner, checked on Bean and she was still asleep. Worked on my knitting project.
6:45pm – Stephen home from work. Bean up. Changed her diaper then fixed Stephen’s plate for dinner.
7-7:05pm – Bean fussy so I gave her some teething tabs and nursed her a bit. Then she played on the floor with her toys.
8:30pm – we drove to Coldstone and used our buy one get one free coupon.
9:15pm – Got home, changed Bean’s diaper and nursed her until she fell asleep at 9:53pm
9:53pm – worked on my knitting project some more. I am almost done with the first sleeve!
10:45pm – Went to bed.

Yeah. So see, I do get stuff done and that is where the day goes.

Another apartment peak

We bought this desk and filing cabinet on Saturday. The desk was delivered on Sunday. I love having a space for all of our office stuff and my computer. There is so much storage in this desk, it is great. I’m glad we didn’t go with the IKEA one because this one is much, much nicer. I also love that it all folds up and the stuff can be hidden away. I love that this piece has a classic feel to it, but also kind of modern and not too fancy looking. I love that the printer we got for Christmas is finally set up and working. Now I can print out all my recipes and menus!

Church
Sunday morning we woke up bright at early at 6:30am and drove to Carpinteria so we could attend church at Reality.

I love this church. We had been once before while we were still living in Bakersfield. It is quite a trek to get there (45 minutes each way), but with amazing ocean views, that really isn’t a burden…

I seriously could not stop looking out the window for the whole drive. There were light showers, the sun peaking through the clouds and streaming down and even a few rainbows along the way. Not to mention the gorgeous ocean crashing along the shoreline below. Plus, it is actually only about 10 minutes longer to go there than it was to go to Westbrook from our house in Bakersfield.

It only took that one visit for us to be sold. The teaching was great and the worship amazing. Not because the band was particularly talented, but because the congregation really wanted to be there and was very into it.

This is also the church where our former youth pastor is going and getting ready to be sent out to plant a church in San Francisco. So it was really cool to reconnect with him a little bit on Sunday. Plus another thing was that Stephen ran in to like 3 different people he knew from back when he lived in Santa Paula. So it feels familiar to him in a lot of ways.

Our plan is to continue attending there for now and then when they start up the new site in Ventura to switch to start getting involved there. We’re also just kind of taking a break from over-involvement at this point. It is tempting to want to throw ourselves head first into home groups, prayer for the Ventura site, playing music etc, but we know we just really need to have some time to get adjusted and get to know the place where we live. It has been sooo nice to just be able to be home and relax and not be rushing off to various activities lately.

Nighttime/Sleep Parenting
There have been many things going on in the world of sleep (or lack thereof) with us lately.

First up I’ll talk about nap time. Bean has started this new thing where when I put her down in the crib, the floor, etc. for a nap she immediately starts crying or fussing. Most of the time it lasts a couple seconds until she adjusts her comfort position, usually by rolling onto her side, and then she stops and goes on with her normal nap. Sometimes though she just completely cries herself awake and thrashes around and I pick her up and she doesn’t go back to sleep. Then she’s totally grumpy and fussy until she’s finally hungry again and I can nurse her to sleep again. I’m not quite sure how to handle this.

She also has become quite the mover during sleep. I find her in some of the strangest positions when I go to check on her or when I go to get her after she wakes up. It is hilarious. This is not the best example, but the only time I’ve taken a picture is right now:

So I put her to sleep on her back near the corner of the blanket. During the course of writing this post she has managed to move to the middle and wind up on her stomach. Which brings me to another quandry. The whole “back to sleep” campaign. She almost always turns onto her side or stomach while she is sleeping now. Am I really supposed to stir her and turn her back on her back? Really? Because nap/sleep time is going to be a whole heck of a lot more difficult if that is the case.

Finally, on the subject of sleep, Stephen and I are trying to work on “night weaning” Bean. I know this probably doesn’t sit well with the “on demand” crowd, but I really need my sleep. I just seriously can’t handle much more. I am so, so much more grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep. I have been snapping at Stephen a lot lately for completely dumb stuff. I notice that I’ve had trouble constructing sentences properly, I am way less alert especially when doing mundane things like driving (I’ve nearly run several red lights because I just was having a hard time paying attention), and I have no motivation or energy to get stuff done. I just really, really need a good night sleep to be a better person in general. So what we’ve been doing is that when Bean wakes up Stephen goes in and tries to comfort her, distract her, etc for at least a little while to stretch her a bit every night.

When we started this over the weekend she was waking up between 1 and 4am almost every night and then every 1-2 hours after that. I’m the type of person that once I’ve been awakened it is really hard for me to go back to sleep. I’m a really light sleeper. I also don’t do well with alarms or knowing that something is going to happen. So basically when she would wake up that first time I wouldn’t go back to sleep after that because I would lay in bed thinking about how she was going to be waking up again in 1-2 hours and also I would have a hard time falling back asleep because of various sounds (Stephen breathing mostly). So I was pretty much surving on on 3-5 hours of sleep every night. I also have a hard time napping or sleeping in past my internal clock wake up time of 8am unless I’m really, really exhausted (as in didn’t sleep at all the night before).

Also I should note that we know it is possible for Bean to sleep through the night. She was doing a great job of it early on, but teething and a couple of colds really messed up her sleeping/eating patterns. So she just mostly got into the habit of eating and waking up several times a night. I noticed that when I began feeding her throughout the night she would not nurse as many times during the day and she wasn’t that into it or serious about it. She was more interested in what was going on around her, constantly popping off, playing with my shirt/hair, etc.

Anyway, it seems to be working out pretty well. Yesterday she didn’t wake up until 5:20am and this morning she didn’t wake up until 5:40am. And both times she went back to sleep until when I would normally get up for the day (this morning she slept in until 9am!). I’ve also noticed that she’s quite a bit more serious about nursing during the day. It’s pretty much, “don’t bother me I’m eating”-you’d-think-she-was-starving-because-she’s-so-desperate-for-food kind of nursing, not goofing off at all. Since she knows I’m the one that nurses her and has the milk, it really works out better for Stephen to be the one to wake up and try to stretch her. If I do it she goes into a total meltdown and thrashes and screams until I give in and nurse her. I think she feels rejected if I don’t nurse her right away. I know you’re all probably thinking, “Oh no way. That cute little baby is never upset.” Let me tell you, she can get pretty pissed when she doesn’t get her way!

If you thought I was “crunchy” before
So yes, not only am I getting all of our produce through Abundant Harvest, I am also going to start a garden and I am even composting! We are really blessed in that this apartment has a pretty big backyard/patio-ish thing with plenty of room for a garden. I’m planning on starting it this weekend after a trip to the nursery.

This is my compost bin…

And this is my “transfer” bin that I keep on the kitchen counter…

Though I am going to have to come up with something else for that because this is actually my “barf bucket” from when I was pregnant and since Stephen was the one to clean it out all the time he finds its presence on our kitchen counter “disturbing”.

Menu Plan Monday
Except it is on Tuesday. So this is my planned menu that will hopefully use up all of our veggies for the next two weeks…

Last night
Chicken Tacos
Salad

Tonight
Salmon cakes with creamy ginger sesame sauce
Carrot and leek recipe from Ruth (hint hint sister, you should post that one!).

Wednesday
Chicken pot pie
Salad

Thursday
Pasta primavera using TJ’s frozen fettuccini alfredo, AH carrots and asparagus, and garlic chicken recipe
Salad

Friday
Grilled Steaks marinated in garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil
Red Chard with Carmelized Onion

Saturday
Leftover pasta from freezer
Salad

Sunday
Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries and roasted citrus drenched asparagus

Monday
Roasted Winter Vegetables with Roasted Garlic Sauce using sweet potatoes, carrot and rutabaga
Garlic Chicken

Tuesday
Some dish I am going to come up with using chicken, rice, carrots and garlic

Wednesday
Chili, corn bread and salad

Thursday
Leftover pasta from the freezer
Salad

Friday
Leftover split pea soup from the freezer
Salad

Other
Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Anyway, that about does it for everything I think I wanted to say. Sorry if this post is a bit long and rambling and overwhelming. I just had been bottling things up for way, way too long! I’m so glad to be back!

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Filed under Faith, Family, Homemade, Menu Plan Monday, Natural Living, Parenting, Ramblings

Herby Chicken and Veggies

About a month ago I heard about an organic produce co-op through the homeschool group I started to get involved with in Bakersfield. I checked it out and the prices were very reasonable. I was also excited because they not only had drop locations in Bakersfield, they also had one in Simi Valley which is really close to where we were going to be moving.

Of course I couldn’t keep my excitement to myself and so I told Ruth and Cara about it too. We decided to work it out so that we would take turns picking up the produce each weekend.

This weekend was my first weekend picking up the produce. However, Cara was getting ready to go on a vacation so she actually gave me some of her extras from the week before as well. Saturday morning I steamed a few of the carrots and put them in the food processor for Bean. It was quite the task restraining myself from eating the whole lot of it myself. I seriously have never tasted better carrots in my life.

Among the veggies that Cara gave me was one of the biggest leeks I have ever seen! So tonight I combined a bit of it with some of the carrots, some potatoes I already had and a couple chicken breasts I got at Whole Foods.

Stephen is SUCH a meat eater normally, but we actually wound up splitting a chicken breast and mostly eating veggies. He said, “I have never really liked veggies, but those were some of the best tasting veggies I’ve ever had.” Freshness seriously makes all the difference.

Anyway, here’s the recipe for what we had tonight. Hope you enjoy them!

Herby Chicken and Veggies
Ingredients
-2 chicken breasts
-3 red potatoes
-2 large carrots
-about half of a giant leek
-4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
-1-2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
-olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.

Chop your veggies and herbs. Layer chopped veggies in the bottom of a roasting pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle herbs, salt and pepper over them. Salt and pepper chicken breasts. Place on bed of veggies. Drizzle olive oil over the entire dish.

Place in oven and bake 1 hr 15 min or until chicken is no longer pink and potatoes are tender.

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