Tag Archives: Family

Bean gets a room all her own

Well with a third on the way we were not going to be cramming all three kids into one room just so we could maintain a craft and guest room. Especially since we use the guest room for guests about five times a year at the max.

So we got rid of the queen bed in there (given to some friends about to become newly weds) moved in a full size futon we got from Stephen’s sister to become Bean’s new bed and room.

My friends came Thursday to pick up the bed and they moved the futon up there too. Bean had to take a nap in there that afternoon as soon as it was in place. She was so excited about her new big bed!

We did some rearranging that night when Stephen got home, he was pretty inspired and ready to get going at this point. The bulk of the purging, reorganizing and rearranging was done yesterday.

I also made up some art for Bean’s room based on some that I saw at Target. Only this uses scrap fabric from her quilt and so coordinates perfectly with her bedding. The sheets we got also came in a little matching fabric bag so I was able to cut that up and incorporate it into the art too.

I cut fabric into shapes to make up larger objects like the owls and trees and I also cut out flowers and birds from the quilt fabrics to use in the art.

I covered some canvasses I already was using as decor in that room with quilt batting (so the old design wouldn’t show thru) and then the fabric. I’ve always thought of hot gluing things as kind of half assed (sorry for the language, but that really is the best way to put it), but I think in the case of something like this where in a few years she will out grow it and something that isn’t going to get a lot of wear and tear being up out of reach on the wall, it is fine for. Plus I just wanted to get it done and really couldn’t think of a better way.

I printed up a page of inspiration images including old blog logos and screen captures of the art that Target had.

This is about midway thru the project. Bean and I worked on this one together after her nap one day. In the upper left corner you can see what the old canvasses looked like.

So excited about her new room.

The owls which are pretty much a rip off of the Target piece. I even traced the owls from her Target Pillow to do them.

I made this one last night while Bean was asleep. This morning she came out of her room and said, “There’s a tree with apples in my new room!” The apples are from apple fabric I used in her quilt, the birds are also from her quilt fabric, and the flowers too.

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Our vacation

I am becoming increasingly terrible at taking and posting pictures of various family events.

My iPhone is helping to change that a little, but iPhone pictures are what they are which isn’t always the greatest. Sometimes I forget how much better our Rebel is until I dust it off and pick it up and give it some love.

Anyway, we went on a little vacation with some of our very best friends. It snowed and it was wonderfully cozy and relaxing, just as I’d hoped. I didn’t get as much crafting or reading done as I did the time we went pre-kids, but it was still a great vacation.

So for those of you not on Facebook, here are some of my favorite shots of the vacation:

As soon as we got there, Bean was smitten with the oldest girl and was constantly asking where she was and asking her to play with her and pretty much pestering her. She handled it wonderfully, especially for an 11 year old. Here she is the first night reading a story to all the other kids, including Bean.

It was snowing when we got there and snowed all night. So there was a couple inches of fluffy stuff on the ground for the kids to play in the next day. They made a very tiny snowman. Bean was trying to direct all the snowman building operations (though given her youngest of all the big kids age and small stature, no one was really listening to her demands and by demands, I definitely mean demands), hence the bit of a scowl on her face.

She did start to lighten up a little bit. She loved the snow and being outside in it.

Her brother hated the snow. I think it had more to do with the constricting and puffy snow gear he had to wear to keep warm and his inability to be coordinated in it more than anything else. So this is the face we got when he was in his snow gear or in the snow.

Or this one with the duck lips.

He did perk up a bit getting pulled around in the tubes.

His sister was not a fan.

She preferred being in complete control.

Unlike everyone else we made a two day event out of the driving there and back, though now that I have experienced it, our kids probably could have handled one very long day of driving afterall. So on our way back we stopped at Zion National Park which was also beautiful.

The whole park is just these gigantic canyons and mesas of red rock rising up above you as you drive through. The afternoon we got there, there was a storm just passing through. Actually, we were a little concerned because when we were on the I-15 and we got to the northern part of the park, it was snowing pretty bad and we were not sure it would be a good idea to go, but by the time we got to the exit for the southern part of the park, things were much better as the storm had already passed by this part of the park. If you look closely, you can see a little powder sugar dusting on the tops in this picture.

This was our best attempt at a family picture thanks to a rock on the desert floor.

Stephen was getting a little antsy with the kids being outside the car, even though there really wasn’t much for them to get into besides dirt or far for them to go. So we didn’t do the picture thing very long.

This is what he calls my money shot. Though the cloud shadows on the rock face leave me with it feeling slightly imperfect. Not that I can, you know, control clouds or anything.

The Virgin River is so green and clear here in the park. Further down stream as you get closer to Arizona, it is muddy and red and not nearly as pretty.

It was really just so beautiful that we decided to go back early the next morning before we set off for home and do a quick walk/hike on a paved trail that ran beside the river.

It was interesting seeing the park in morning versus afternoon lighting and clear versus partly cloudy skies.

Bean had fun looking at all the mountains and big rocks and playing with her sunglasses and driving through the mile long tunnel that goes into one of the moutains in the park.

So there you have it. Our vacation in just a few pictures.

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Lisa’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix

When it comes to gluten-free baking everyone has an opinion about the right combination of flours because no one other grain seems to be able to mimic the elasticity, texture, flavor, etc. of wheat. The Internet is a really great resource for those with Celiac’s, wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. There are tons and tons of websites, blogs, gluten-free stores, cookbooks, and recipes to be found. And behind all of them is an opinion on this subject.

One baker will tell you that millet is a gluten-free bread baker’s dream. Another will say sorghum flour has a great texture. A lot of people are not fans of rice flour because of the grainy texture, which is funny because so many pre-made mixes are mostly made with rice flour (you’d think the makers of these mixes would listen, but I suspect it probably has more to do with the fact that rice is cheap). Certified gluten-free oat flour, I’ve heard numerous times, is the closest thing to wheat. Almond meal is perfect to bake with and produces the fluffiest baked goods. Some prefer to add things like flax seed meal or garbanzo bean flour to their mixes for extra protein and fiber (though just like eating regular garbanzo beans you might want to grab some Beano before enjoying a baked good that contains this flour). These are all things I’ve read on numerous websites and books dedicated to making the gluten-free life a little easier.

It has been nice having all these resources to go to since several family members have discovered varying levels of allergy and intolerance to wheat. Most recently my husband has gone gluten-free and about 6 weeks in now he is definitely noticing some benefits including the loss of 7lbs and a little pooch he’s never been able to get rid of (what some people refer to as “wheat belly”) no matter how hard he worked out or watched what he ate. I still have a stash of a few things I am holding onto and when we eat out I indulge, but for the most part our house is gluten-free now.

So the creative wheels have been turning. I needed a good mix of flours because one of the biggest obstacles, at least for me, to gluten-free baking is having to pull out several different bags of flours and pull a little from each bag. It takes up a lot of space on your counter and in your cupboards and it’s just annoying having to measure out that many ingredients.

The best stuff on the market that most people I know with wheat allergies use is probably Pamela’s mix. Unfortunately, it contains cultured buttermilk so Bean and Sprout can’t have anything that is made with it. I have had some seriously yummy treats baked with that stuff and so it is really a bummer that it won’t work for our family.

I decided today that I would take the opinions that I’ve read plus my own experience with gluten-free baking and try to come up with my very own all purpose mix that could be used as a cup for cup substitute in any recipe calling for flour that I tried. I am finally pretty happy with the result. No grainy textures, no bitter aftertaste, something that is somewhere between whole wheat and white in texture and taste, and a great elasticity in doughs and batter. So here it is, I am throwing my hat in the ring of gluten-free flour combo opinions:

Lisa’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix
-1 cup arrowroot starch/flour
-1 cup sorghum flour
-1 cup millet flour
-1 cup almond meal (I do like the blanched Bob’s Red Mill stuff better than the “Just Almond Meal” from TJ’s)
-1 cup oat flour
-1 cup potato starch
-1 cup sweet rice flour
-3 tbsp xanthan gum

Sift ingredients together (the almond meal and the oat flour had quite a few chunks, so this is important for a smooth end product) into a large bowl then use a wire whisk to combine thoroughly.

This made enough flour for a batch of muffins and a loaf of bread with some leftover. I made a second batch just before I put things away to keep in my big flour jar and have on hand for the next time I feel like baking. That way I can just take out the jar and measure out the amount of flour I need without a big production.

Gluten-free bread dough rising.

The finished loaf. I just found a simple bread recipe that used regular flour and substituted my flour mix.

Strawberry banana muffins using strawberries we got at the farmer’s market yesterday. Again, I just found a strawberry muffin recipe online and used my mix for the flour, a combo of hemp and coconut milk for the milk, and a banana instead of the egg it called for.

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Bean, almost 2 and a half

I haven’t done an update post on Bean in quite some time and I wanted to document a few things that I just want to remember about her right now.

Mostly it has to do with speech mannerisms and how she says things in her little Bean way.
-How she says her name with a ‘W’ sound where there should be an ‘L’
-How when she is doing something that she isn’t supposed to and feeling especially honery she will say her name the exact way I say it when I say her name when she is in trouble with the tone and everything matched perfectly.
-How she says “fink” instead of “think”. How when she wants something she’ll some times make it seem like it is something her brother is wanting. “Fink [Sprout] wants a smoovie (smoothie), Mama.”
-How she says she wants to do something not by saying, “I want to do ____?” or “Can we do ______?” but rather, “Should we listen to music?” or “Should we fold laundry?” (that’s one of my favorites that she says), or “Should we get out the stroller?” or “Guys want to go outside and play in the garden?”
-How she is a bit of a know-it-all right now and how she has picked up on my mannerism of using the word actually a lot. And the attidue. Oh the attitude. “That’s the doctor’s office. No, it’s a tall building, actually. No, actually, it’s a big ship.” (Everything that is really tall is a big ship since we went to my sister’s deployment). “When we get to church we’re going to go straight to the bathroom and try to use the potty.” “No, actually, I can’t go Mama.” “No, actually you can go and try to use the potty when we get there.” “Um, no.”
-How she says stuff like this all the time: “Today, I’m going to go to Target by myself and get some jelly beans and pay for them and then I’m going to go to Whole Foods.” Guess you can tell where we do a lot of shopping…

So I took some pictures this morning trying to capture the attitude that spills out of her when she is talking.

I have more pictures from the last few months, but these pretty much capture so much of who she is right now. It is frustrating and funny and annoying and like a big mirror in my face all day long and so many other things all at once. I love it, when I’m really honest with myself. It’s fun watching her turn into the little person she is becoming.


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Daily, 11/25

I taught my niece how to do some embroidery today.

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Daily, 11/6

My kids are playing with model NASCAR racers. We must be in Bakersfield.

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The October Daily, 10/28

I don’t know if my fridge has ever been so full of food. It is kind of ridiculous and slightly disturbing. We have family staying with us this week and I decided to go for the big veggie box as well as get larger versions of stuff like milk and orange juice. The days are going by quickly though and I keep feeling like we’ve hardly made a dent. Ack!

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Sprout – month nine

We are super late on this one.

We were sick for three weeks. Sprout had two different rashes which made him unphotogenic.

So what’s new this month?

He eats real food now. Just full on small pieces of food. He is a great eater. He loves food.

He is pulling himself up on everything and loves to stand up.

He is finally crawling for real. If he wants to get somewhere fast he still prefers the army scoot, but he is getting better at the real hands and knees crawl.

He vocalizes a lot. Buh buh buh, ba ba ba, ma ma ma, na na na. He also does the high pitched screeches.

He fights back. Bean isn’t getting her way all the time now. She can’t just take toys from him. He takes them back. Or cries. Or both.

He is teething again. I think it is the eye teeth. Maybe the molars. Blerg.

Definitely has a different approach to things than Bean. He is all boy. I don’t really know how to explain it other than that. She is just so much more delicate with most things and he just goes for it, bangs on it, rams into it, etc.

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An Olive doll for a friend

One of the hardest things about leaving Bakersfield last year was leaving our community. We had a church that we both had basically grown up in with lots of people we loved and loved us.

It has been very challenging trying to figure out where we fit here and finding another community. I know that relationships take time to develop and didn’t expect it to happen overnight.

A few weeks ago Stephen’s sisters’s in laws invited us to the community group Bible study that they are apart of through their church. We did try a similar group that our church was hosting, but it was in Camarillo, had no childcare and sometimes went a little late into the night. It just wasn’t the best situation for our family. This new group has a wide variety of age groups and they have childcare during the study on site.

It has been so neat to become a part of a community again and meet some new friends. There are things we have in common like food allergies and things we don’t always agree on. The conversations can be passionate and they can be fun. We’ve been welcomed in immediately. We’ve had playdates, barbecues, pot lucks, and sporting events to go to with them.

Today we have a birthday party for one of the little girls in the group that is turning one. So, I decided to make her an Olive doll. I did most of the sewing while the kids were napping, well not so much Sprout he chilled out in the Boppy to watch. Yesterday Bean helped me stuff her and she’s all ready to go.


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Don’t turn your back…

…while the veg monster is on the loose. If you leave your CSA veg out, they may disappear into the depths of her belly.

When we came into the house yesterday after picking up our CSA veg, I needed to check my messages on the computer really quick because I was waiting for one from somebody. So I set the bag of veg down by the fridge and let the kids play for a few minutes before I was going to make dinner. Next thing I know Bean is trying to shove a carrot in Sprout’s mouth while chopping on one herself. Because these things were straight from the farm she basically had a mud pie on her face and dress. She didn’t want to give up that carrot though so I cleaned it, peeled it and let her munch on it the rest of the night until we got to Bible study and the host family’s dog decided it wanted the remnants.

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