Saturday, October 29, 2005

Best Buttermilk Biscuits Ever!

I've never been that good at making homemade biscuits. They always taste ok, and look pretty good, but they lack the texture and fluffiness you find at restaurants or Pillsbury frozen ones. However, yesterday, I looked online for a new recipe, and tried it this morning--absolutely the best biscuits ever!! They were flaky, tender, and buttery. Perfect with the apple butter I had bought from the local orchard. I'm feeling generous enough to share the recipe with you. As usual, it's from the Food Network--my favorite channel :)

Better Buttermilk Biscuits

I'll give you a rundown of how I prepared them:

I used unbleached all purpose flour, Kroger brand vegetable shortening, and Goldenrod Fat Free Buttermilk. I chilled the 1/2 cup of shortening in the freezer overnight--but you could probably do it an hour before. I had to use more buttermilk than what it called for to get the "sticky dough". I used a rubber spatula to fold in the ingredients, not my hands, but that would be fine. It's important to keep the ingredients cold, so I figured my hands might be too warm. Now, I can't guarantee the same results if you don't do what I did, so be warned ;)

Along with sausage, gravy, scrambled eggs, apple butter, OJ, and coffee, it was a great breakfast! I love Saturday breakfasts! I just wish I could implement the rule of "when mama makes a big breakfast, everyone else should wash the dishes" *sigh* Seems fair, right? Maybe someday...

Friday, October 28, 2005

I've been AWOL

Or just lazy, not sure. I just haven't gotten it me to post much this week. Well, I'm back this morning and I'm happy to report that my happy nurser is back. Zoe started nursing again last Friday night and is doing great! The week-long strike is over. Not sure if she'll have another or not, but for now, she loves her mommy milk and I'm enjoying our quiet time together again. Hopefully we'll continue on to our goal of a full year.

Today is Zoe's 9 month checkup. I can't believe she's already that big. It seems like we just brought her home yesterday. *sigh* My first baby is already in preschool. My second one now has 2 teeth and is sitting up by herself and almost crawling. She rolls and scoots everywhere now, so I'm already chasing her.

Where does time go? Does it go to the same place the missing socks go? Every time I wash socks, I always end up with some missing. I wonder if they go to a magical "Land of the Lost Socks", you know, like the "Island of Lost Toys" on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Are they waiting for someone to come get them so they won't be lonely? Are they resigned to their fate? How in the world did I get on this topic? :)

I'll just sip my coffee with half-n-half. Yes, you heard me right--HALF-N-HALF! I have moved up in the world. I used to use the powdered creamer, but I splurged the other day and bought some Land o Lakes Fat Freel half-n-half. I must now drink my coffee with my pinky sticking out and with a saucer underneath. Well, my big cat mug won't fit on a saucer, so I'll save those for company. I use my good china when company's over--doesn't everyone? My mom used to call the more expensive paper plates her "good china" ;) My good china is a $15 dollar mis-matched set my hubby bought at a yard sale. I guess I still need some culturing.

Well, if you made it through this morning's ramblings, I'm impressed. Go get yourself a cup of coffee with half-n-half! God bless your heart!

Monday, October 24, 2005

The strike has ceased!

Zoe is back to nursing and is very happy about it, maybe even more so than before. It's like she never stopped. Of course, I'm ecstatic! I took back that breast pump today, so the milk cow has retired for now. I am going to continue toward my goal of nursing for one year, then gradual weaning.

I think her teething is what started the whole thing, and then she got that virus/fever that kept it going. She did the nursing strike for a whole week, and I was almost to the point of deciding that she was weaning, but I'm so glad she's not. Answered prayer!!

In other news ;) , I got my flu shot today, and Zoe's getting one Friday. I may get Meg one too, but we'll see. Tomorrow is Meg's preschool field trip to a local pumpkin patch. It'll be quite chilly, so we'll have to wrap up well. I have to remember to get my camera ready. Tonight, Meg is trying out for the local theater's production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever", at the persuasion of our pastor's wife. I've always said Meg will be a lawyer of actress. She has a flair for arguing and drama.

I should be returning to my fitness routine by next week at the latest, so I'll keep chronicling my progress there. With this cold weather happening, I don't know if I'll get walking in, but I may get out my "Kick Butt" video. At least the shirtless guy is something to keep me focused :)

Stay tuned for more of my adventures. If you made it this far, God bless your heart, you must be bored.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Is the strike over?

"We interrupt your internet surfing for this live report on the nursing strike between baby Zoe and her mom. Tom, can you update us on the situation?"

"Bob, here we are live from Western Kentucky. There appears to be some negotiation between both parties. Mom has apparently met some of Zoe's demands and Zoe has cautiously returned to her nursing position. We don't know yet if the strike is completely over, since there seems to still be some tension from both sides. Zoe, have you decided to come back to your nursing position permanently?"

"Uhhhh, ah, aaaa, phhttt, da da, na na, ppphhhhtttt!"

"Bob, we still didn't catch that, but both parties seem to be happier. Maybe the week-long strike is over, but we'll monitor the situation and let you know of any changes."

"Thanks, Tom, keep us informed. Now back to your regularly scheduled web surfing."

This morning I am cautiously optimistic. All day yesterday I gently coaxed and cuddled Zoe and last night when we got back from eating out, I finally got her to nurse a little on each side. I could tell that she wanted to, and it took a while to persuade her. I had to calm her down when she started crying and gently talk to her until she finally latched on. I made sure not to react loudly when she chewed on me a little ;) I also went into the bedroom and shut the door so big sis wouldn't disturb her too much. I couldn't get her to take any just before I put her to bed, but she was so sleepy, she just wanted to go to bed, and she slept all night.

I talked to Meg about our new rule for when I'm nursing. She is to stay in another room and be very quiet until we're done. I'm trying lots of positive reinforcement with that rule, since it's very hard for Meg to be quiet.

Anyway, I got Zoe up before Megan woke up this morning and got her to empty one side, but she wouldn't take the other side. I think she got full on the one side. I pumped the other. Then, just a while ago, I nursed her again, and she took both sides. She didn't complain as much this time.

So today, I'm holding my breath, hoping that I'll get my happy nurser back. We may have to stay cooped up in the bedroom for a while, but that's ok if she'll just keep it up. I hate that pump :) I'll keep you all informed as we progress or otherwise.
Saying a little *woohoo!*

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The strike continues....

"Here we are, live from western Kentucky, where little Zoe is crawling around the living room of her home, holding a little picket sign, apparently on strike for better feeding conditions. Zoe, can you tell us what your sign says?"

"Ahhhhh, phttt, eeeee!"

"Bob, did you catch that?"

"No, Tom, I didn't. I don't speak Baby--does anyone here in the newsroom speak Baby?"

"Well, Bob, we're still at a stand-still with this strike. If her parents only knew what she was saying, negotiations would be able to get underway. Unfortunately, Bob, it doesn't look good for either side here in western Kentucky. Back to you, Bob."

"Thanks, Tom. Please keep us informed of any changes in the situation."

As you can see, my little Zoe's nursing strike is still on. I tried to blog about it yesterday, but our internet connection went down AGAIN! I got on the phone and dialed the phone company this morning, and I swear--just as I got the automated message, the connection came back on again. That's happened twice now. It's freakin me out!

Zoe also developed a fever Monday night and I took her to the doc Tuesday. There is an apparent virus going around that makes kids have fever and not eat well. I don't know if that caused the strike, since she stopped nursing a few days before the fever started, but that may be exacerbating it. I'm keeping her on Tylenol and Motrin and feeding her as much as she'll let me from her sippy cup and hoping/praying that this thing will clear up soon and I'll have my happy nurser back.

If she doesn't start nursing soon, I've decided to pump exclusively for another month, then begin switching to formula. I was wanting to nurse for a year, so it's a bit sooner than I wanted to wean, but she's got mommy milk for a good long time. I just hate it that it might be over so suddenly. I wasn't ready! I wanted to wean her when I wanted to. She may just be headstrong like her sister. Figures. I thought she was my easy baby. I guess no child is ever completely easy. And don't anyone get on here and tell me that your child was completely easy--I don't want to hear it!! ;)

I'll try to keep you updated on our situation and hopefully things will smooth out soon. Until then, the dairy cow will head back to the barn....moo.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Another challenge this way comes....

We had a good trip to the zoo on Friday. This is Meg and me at the end of the day waiting for the train ride. We could hardly keep up with her. She was so excited. Thursday night we stayed in a hotel and swam in the pool. Megan did so well with her little floaties. The water was a little cool but still fun.

Of course, nothing is ever totally smooth. Zoe decided on the first day of our travels to begin a nursing strike. For those of you who have never heard of that, it is when a nursing baby suddenly decides to stop nursing for whatever reason, sometimes unknown. It is different from weaning, because they are usually too young, and it happens so abruptly, as opposed to weaning, which babies will do on their own usually around 18-24 months, and weaning happens gradually.

Anyway, the good trip was a bit muddled by this new stress. I have now rented a double breast pump to keep up my supply while Zoe is "striking". I'm suspecting her teething is the issue, but hard to say. I am giving her extra cuddling and trying not to force her to nurse. I'm just offering it to her as often as usual, then pumping.

Needless to say, until this issue is resolved one way or another, I will be putting much of my fitness routine on hold in order to build up my milk supply which weakened a bit after the weekend. I'm focusing on lots of good nutrition, water, and relaxation. Of course, the relaxation part is a bit hard with Megan around, but when she naps, I'll try to as well. I'll only do the most necessary house work and errands, and keep meals easy and quick until we get either pumping or nursing established again.

I'll try to keep you posted on our progress and any changes. I hope I can take that pump back soon. I feel like a dairy cow---MOOO!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Vacation time

We're heading out today for Louisville. To stay in a hotel with an indoor pool. Hopefully we'll get some swimming in today. We have to wait for our car to get serviced today. New belt, new air circulation system. Won't be ready until mid-afternoon. I wanted to leave before that, but oh well.

Friday is zoo day. Megan will love it. Zoe will probably sleep through it. Then to Nana's and Papa's for the rest of the weekend. Lots of spoiling, I'm sure, then deprogramming next week :)

I still need to fold a load of laundry and pack our suitcase. The girls are packed up, but I think I'll get some little toys to keep them entertained. Right now, though, I'm just enjoying my coffee, hubby just woke up, girls are fed, one is dressed, and we're watching cartoons. Good morning.

Until we meet again, God bless your heart, and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lousy Fitness Journal

This week, I am not exercising. Yes, that's right folks, I'm not concentrating on my fitness regime. Are you filled with shock and dismay?

Megan is out of pre-school this week for fall break and I figure it's just not worth the effort and stress to try to make the time. With just Zoe here, I can put her somewhere (swing, stroller, playpen) and get my exercise done. With Meg, well you know--"Find me sumpin else to watch!", "I want a snack!", "Can I play a game on the puter?", "Help me with this game on the puter!", "Can I exercise too?", "Zoe's crying!", "Zoe pinched me!", and then there's the miscellaneous Crash, Bang, Boom, Scratch, "Ahhh!", and when I yell, "What are you doing in there?!"--"I not doing anything!"

So there. I'm just not doing it this week. And we're going on a trip Thursday to Louisville. Going to stay in a hotel and swim in a pool. Then to the zoo on Friday, so that will be a lot of walking. Then to visit the in-laws for the rest of the weekend, and that's always a busy time. Of course, homecoming at in-laws' church--oh, man--there goes the diet! :)

Do I feel guilty? Not really. I'm catching up on laundry before our trip and housecleaning, so I'm still moving a lot. Moms move a lot anyway.

Zoe is cutting her second tooth, but she's still the "one-tooth wonder" for now. And now she's hungry again. Mommy to the rescue!

Yay for dishwashers!

My dishwasher is fixed! Yes, it did cost $180 for the part and labor, but it's working now. I didn't realize how much I missed it until it was broken. I hate washing dishes in the sink. It just RUINS my manicure ;)

I feel so blessed to have so many conveniences like dishwashers in my home. I can't imagine living in the time before technology. I'm exhausted NOW, but I guess I'd be a zombie if I lived back then. Maybe that's why nobody smiled in their pictures, or they were afraid the camera would take their souls?....

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sunday Musings

I made my first apple pie of the season today, actually a cranberry apple tart. Yesterday I mixed up a pate sucree (sweet flaky pastry crust) and chilled it until today. Today I cut up the apples, tossed them in lemon juice, thawed the cranberries, rolled out the crust, and made a caramel to cover the fruit. I lapped the edge of the crust over the tart, and crimped it up to make it pretty. Then I brushed the crust with cold water and sprinkled some sugar on it, baked for 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven. The rest was history--"perfection" my hubby called it. I love compliments like that. I made up a lasagna with some leftover stuff I had on hand and it was good too. The kitchen became hot with all that baking, but I opened a window and let the nice fall air inside.

The baking was a good distraction for me today. Two years ago today, my mom passed away from lung cancer. I'm kinda bummed. I still miss her so badly. I miss our long talks, our laughs, how she loved her grandkids and cats, and all the sweet things she crafted for me. I just miss having a mom.

If you or anyone else you know and love is a smoker, please stop or try to get them to stop. It's just not worth it.

Done musing now. Hope you liked my first blog pic. Hopefully I'll have more to come. God bless your heart.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Saturday Breakfast

I love fixing a big breakfast on Saturday mornings. It's about the only morning we can sort-of sleep in and stay in our pj's half the day. Of course, Bryan had to get up to go to a golf tournament with his company and left at 6:45, then the baby got up right as he left, then Megan got up as soon as the baby ate. Didn't really sleep in, but I didn't have to jump up and shower and rush around, so that's ok.

7:30 am--In the kitchen after getting Megan dressed, making pancakes and bacon. I have a great recipe. Should I share? It's from my favorite channel, the Food Network. Click on this: "Instant" Pancake Mix. The pancakes usually always turn out golden brown and fluffy if you follow this recipe. You can mix up the "mix" and keep it in the pantry for a while. I get about 3 servings from a batch of it. You can also make waffles with it. Try to use buttermilk (fat free is fine) to get the fluffiest pancakes.

8:15--The bacon press I recently bought on eBay made nice flat, crispy bacon. We sat down and thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast. Fresh Folgers Hazelnut coffee with 2 big pancakes and maple creme syrup---can you have a more perfect morning? ;) Zoe tried pancakes for the first time too. She thought they were ok--chewed them around with her gums and one tooth and ate some bananas and orange juice. Megan can eat pancakes or waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner--she loves them! One morning she ate FOUR waffles. I wish she liked veggies that much :)

9:00--The baby's napping in her swing. I'm contemplating a shower, but got busy taking a survey online for a dollar. You can sign up on for a few surveys that pay $1-$5 dollars each. I enjoyed my second cup of coffee while watching a stupid show on the Travel Channel called Most Haunted. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. It's filmed in the UK, they use this "psychic" guy that often becomes "possessed" (very good acting). They all get freaked out when they hear a noise and curse ("beep!") or scream or cry and the camera jumps all over the place and you see close ups of their faces most of the time. It's kinda like Blair Witch with a British flair. I have no idea why I watch it except to laugh and shake my head at their antics. I like to look at the old British buildings and settings, though. They are not scientific at all like Ghost Hunters--if you are going to "investigate" paranormal occurences, it should be done scientifically and not theatrically!

10:00--Getting closer to shower time. I'm having a difficult time getting Megan to pick up the mess she made in her room. She comes back in here, I put her back in there, and round and round we go. I'm thinking about a leash or maybe I could tie her to the bedpost until she cleans up. Is that abuse? :) I know as soon as I get in the shower, Zoe will start to fuss. I think my peaceful morning is over. The dishes from breakfast are still waiting too. I love to make breakfast, but cleaning up isn't as much fun for some reason...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Fitness

I just got my exercise done. Today was Bowflex upper body, 60 squats, and 8 minute abs. I had to call DH to be reminded why I try to workout. The girls were being difficult just as I began working out. I finally had to let the baby cry it out in the swing because she needed a nap and I rounded up Megan and got her downstairs to play some computer games.

Sometimes I wonder why I try to exercise when I have so much to do and when my girls still need me so much. I have to be reminded. If you are reading and exercise regularly, tell me how you make time and what you do for exercise, how you juggle jobs and kids along with it, etc.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Prayer Request

I should have posted this last week, but if anyone reading this will just lift up a prayer, that would be great! My brother-in-law and his wife are expecting a baby. She is about 8 weeks and is high risk. She has had several miscarriages in the past. They are understandibly nervous and excited too. Thanks for the prayers! God even hears prayers about strangers.

Thursday Ramblings/Fitness Journal

I think I'll begin blogging mostly about my fitness and just keep an ongoing journal going about it, and combine it with my usual ramblings. :) My last topic I addressed in the part one of my fitness journal was taking me time when I can. Moms of young kids don't get much of that.

So, what do I do for me time? I take naps. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to nap when the girls nap. 20-30 minutes is all I need to refresh.

I watch a few TV programs regularly. DH and I are big Simpsons fans. We also watch Family Guy and American Dad, two even sillier cartoons. I also like a show on the Sci-Fi channel called Ghost Hunters. Yes, I know, I'm weird. I'm not into the occult or anything. I'm just curious as to what people are experiencing when they have paranormal occurrences. And, no, I don't have a haunted house nor have I ever saw a ghost, and I don't want to either. Bryan and I have both been watching House. It's a doctor/hospital show and they always have a patient with a really weird disease or something that they have to figure out. It's interesting and dramatic. I've also started watching Invasion, which seems like a "Lost" sort of show. You get the idea that some kind of aliens have invaded and are taking over people's bodies--you know, the usual :) I don't watch daytime TV much. I haven't watched soap operas since college. Every now and then I catch Dr. Phil and Oprah. I also try to watch a bit of Good Morning America while I'm eating my breakfast and before the girls get up. We watch most of these shows only when the girls are sleeping, first because they aren't really appropriate for young kids, and second because Megan talks non stop so we can't hear anything on TV when she's around :)

While I'm airing out my dirty laundry, I might as well admit that I'm an addict. I'm addicted to computer games. Back before kids and before my mom got sick and passed in 2003, I was addicted to an online game called Everquest, commonly nicknamed "Evercrack". I no longer have the time and money to invest in that one, so I found substitutes. Now I mainly play The Elder Scrolls III--Morrowind. I also like Zoo Tycoon and The Sims. Again, I can only play these when the girls are sleeping, and sometimes if Zoe is in a good mood and playing in the playpen.

I suppose these are the biggest time-consumers of my "me time". I also have a small group of 4 women from my church who have all been to the Great Banquet. We meet every 2 weeks at our houses and have a Bible study and chat. It's nice to meet with other adults. I do other Bible studies when I can, like the 40 Days of Community we're doing now. I like to blog :), exercise, cook and especially bake!

My "me time" keeps me sane. I don't always get a lot of it, but I get a bit each day. If mamma's happy, everybody's happy, right?

As far as fitness, I got in a good 30 minute, sweat-inducing, heart-pounding, panting walk today :) I did the last 15 minutes of my Abs of Steel video too. I have yet to see abs of steel, or anything of steel for that matter, but I can see slow changing and firming. It's frustrating sometimes to look in the mirror and keep seeing the mommy belly and jiggly thighs, but I keep telling myself that every day I exercise is helping my body get in shape and be more healthy. I owe it to my hubby and kids to be healthy and have energy.

I'm tired of writing for today. If you made it this far, God bless your heart, you must be bored.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

My Fitness Journal, Part 5

I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep at night, and naps when I can.

Now, this is easier said than done when you have a baby and a toddler. Luckily, my toddler still takes naps and has always been a good night sleeper. My baby was about 5 months old before she began sleeping through the night. Now, she's getting up again at least once a night because of teething and this week, a growth spurt--she needs more num-nums :)

So, I still try to get to bed by 10 pm, and I'm up at 6 am. Whenever I can get the girls sleeping at the same time in the afternoons, I often lie down for a 20-30 minute nap. That really refreshes me sometimes. I can definitely tell when I've lost sleep for a while. My energy level is way down, and I just can't think straight.

Sleep is vital for our health and performance. Lack of sleep can hurt our immune system and some studies even suggest that lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain! I found a great article on a website with lots of sleep info that you might find useful: Talk About Sleep

I just got my toddler down for a nap and the baby's napping too--yay! Looks like mama's getting a nap, until the phone rings anyway.....

Tuesday Ramblings

I think God gave me a few extra minutes this morning. That is the only way to explain how the girls and I got ready without rushing this morning. That was nice. I hope we can do that some more.

I've been having a good day. Got in a good walk with my friend. Did my Abs of Steel video--well, the first 10 minutes anyway. I put my new recipe, Autumn Tuscany Chicken, in the crock pot. It's smelling pretty good. I'll share the recipe:

Autumn Tuscany Chicken

1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast meat, cut into chunks
1 small green bell pepper, seeded, de-ribbed and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons salsa, your favorite brand
5-oz. canned diced tomatoes, un-drained
4 teaspoons golden raisins
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/2 clove garlic, pressed
Dash of ground cinnamon
5-oz. canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

In a crock pot, combine all ingredients, except garbanzo beans.

Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.

15 minutes before you are ready to serve, turn crock pot to high and add garbanzo beans. Cover and cook until beans are heated through.

Per serving: 474 Calories; 6g Fat; 42g Protein; 66g Carbohydrate; 16g Dietary Fiber; 66mg Cholesterol; 196mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain (Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1/2 Fat.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve over couscous with a spinach salad on the side.
Ok, now the day is turning on me. Megan is acting like Megan the wild baboon and Zoe the howler monkey is getting sleepy and fussy. ;) It will be nap time soon. Thank you dear Lord for nap time. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll get one too.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Life is bittersweet

I'm going through my seasonal process of putting away clothes that are too small for my girls. I remember each outfit, even if they wore it only once or even never :) I can't believe how fast they've grown. I've been buying my oldest daughter new fall/winter things and getting out her old fall/winter things for my baby. It's so hard to put those little clothes away, but it's fun to see the new things Megan will wear, and see Zoe wear Megan's old clothes, remembering what Megan used to look like in them.

Zoe has a tooth now. She's not my gummy girl any more. I can see it more every day. She chews on EVERYTHING, and I can feel it when I feed her with her spoons. I'll miss those little gummy smiles, but I love those little smiles with those little teeth showing too.

We parents know just how bittersweet seeing our children growing up can be. We hate to see them move past the little stages, but we love to see them make new milestones and learn more every day. I'm feeling very sappy today, can you tell?

In other news, our dishwasher is on the fritz. A repairman came to look at it today, and determined that it needs a new part that costs $180. I'm going to check around and see if any of the department stores has a sale going--a new one might not cost that much more. We'll see.

I guess I need to get back to my fitness journal. I did exercise today, and am trying to get in my water better. Also, trying to control portions more. I've been slacking on that a bit. I'll post more on my fitness journal soon. Stay tuned.