A business worth promoting

A friend posted this video to Facebook this morning and I am so grateful that she did! So I’m sharing the link posthaste because businesses like this need promoting. I haven’t checked out her etsy shop yet, but I’m eager to look at the dolls!

It’s hard to get excited about buying dolls for Ellie when they are so hypersexualized and trashy looking. I bought a water baby for Ellie’s birthday and had to undress it in the box because I didn’t want to give her a doll that was wearing a hot pink leopard print bathing suit with lots of flashy necklaces printed on it. I mean, for the love! It’s supposed to be like a newborn baby and it has more flashy stuff on it than I typically wear on any given day (but I have my moments, ok?)

IMG_6744
But a doll that resembles a real girl? Sign me up!

I deleted Facebook from my phone a few weeks ago because the addiction to checking Facebook was real. And then my computer ran out of memory so access has just been limited to my iPad.

It has been liberating. I highly recommend unplugging if you keep finding yourself trolling Facebook just for the sake of checking Facebook for something new. I don’t feel like I’m missing out. Rather, I feel like I’m more engaged with my kids and that has slightly reduced the number of tantrums Ellie has thrown any given day. But maybe only slightly. She’s still two after all!

Five whole months

I still can’t get over the fact that James has been with us five months. It seems like he has always been part of our family.

2015/01/img_6413.jpg
Precious little man.
2015/01/img_6396.jpg
Seriously! Who can resist those dimples?
2015/01/img_6352.jpg
It has been one of the best things of my life to be his momma.
2015/01/img_6371.jpg
At five months, James is off the charts on height (28.25″) and nearly off the charts on weight (18.8 lbs – I weighed him 3 times to be sure). One of my prayers for him has been that God would use him in big ways, that he would be a man among men and that he would bring Light to the dark. I didn’t expect that he would be a giant among men. Ha ha – see what I did there? No? Ok. Maybe it was just funny in my head.
2015/01/img_6381.jpg

Peanut butter power ‘stache

“You have the most adorable little Chex Mix beard…”
” – and peanut butter mustache!”

2015/01/img_6443.jpg

The weather on Sunday was absolutely out of this world amazing. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Last week was rough. It started last Sunday with a bad fall and massive black eye for Ellie, then she got a fever and sinus infection, James and I got a nasty cold virus that we’re still trying to get rid of, Ellie threw some of her most terrible tantrums and was sent to time-out more times than I count, James stopped napping because he couldn’t breathe through congestion and Ellie finished the day yesterday with a trip to the ER with nursemaid’s elbow. Enough!

On top of everything else it rained for a good portion of the week, so even had we been healthy we still would have been stuck inside. But y’all. In the weirdest way I’m thankful for those difficult days because God used them for his glory and we are reminded of his faithfulness and renewed by his perfect provision. In hindsight we are more appreciative of those times, of course, because in the moment we are boohoo-ing our little eyes out (and by “we” I mostly mean me and the toddler).

We were incredibly thankful to see the sun and to be able to spend some much needed time outside! It was unbelievably beautiful. We packed our picnic basket that Uncle Duck and Aunt Jelly gave us for Christmas and ate on the deck.

2015/01/img_6432.jpg

2015/01/img_6438.jpg

2015/01/img_6478.jpg

2015/01/img_6487.jpg

It was perfect.

Stream of consciousness

Sometimes my dreams are intensely detailed (like the time we were driving home from Chicago after all the power had gone out in the US a la the TV show Revolution – which we don’t watch – and we had to be careful because there were Alpha Raiders everywhere. What’s an Alpha Raider, you ask? Just bands of renegade raptors that would collect people and steal all of their possessions to be sold on the black market. Yes, raptors. Or that dream where my husband was kidnapped by Fury [not played by Samuel L Jackson in this version] because he was part of some secret group in the Marvel universe and Fury was actually a villain and Mike was a threat to his secret plot to overthrow the good guys – I fall asleep during Agents of Shield a lot so my knowledge of actual storylines is limited) – and then sometimes I have dreams where all that happens is that I get to shower and finally shave my under arms. That’s what I remember from Friday night.

That, and I think James slept 6 straight hours for the first time in a while. Or else I was too konked out from fever and coughing all day that I don’t remember him waking up.

If he hadn’t spit up all the way down my back yesterday morning, chances are good that I would have stayed in my yoga pants and sleep shirt all day.

And if I hadn’t heard that gross, wet plop on the tile floor I probably wouldn’t have realized that he had done it. Location, location, location. Had I been standing on the carpet instead there’s no telling how long we would have been wearing his spit up.

But the good news is that since it did happen I took the time to shower and finally shave my underarms. It had only been since Thursday. I’m not sure what my dream was trying to tell me.

Time Out

Mike took Ellie to run errands this morning so that James and I can wallow in our congestion, coughing and irritableness on our own.

2015/01/img_6303.jpg

Thankful for his thoughtfulness.

I’m not sure Ellie and I would have survived each other one more day. I can only put one of us in time out so many times before it’s just ridiculous and she’s not responsible enough to watch the baby while I serve my time out (two year olds, why aren’t they more reliable? )

Cabin fever just does not suit us.

Gosh I miss her. I hope they get home soon.

Things I never thought I would say

Being a mom changes things. Is that an understatement? Too obvious?

2015/01/img_6618.jpg

Well, it’s true. There have been so many things that I never in my wildest dreams imagined would come out of someone’s mouth – let alone mine! Husband and I started a list of some of the absurd things we’ve said since becoming parents. Here are the highlights:

-“Please don’t rub peanut butter in your eye.”
-“Shoes are not supposed to be tasty. Take your foot out of your mouth, please!”
-“Please don’t put your head in the cheese.”
-“Pizza does not go on your forehead.”
“Oh, thank you. I love slobbery B’s.”
-“Ah ah! No ma’am. Uh. That doesn’t mean stick your other finger in the other hole.”
-“You painted yourself with basil pesto…guess it’s real bath night after all.”
-“You have spaghetti in your leg creases.”
-“Why are you rubbing Cheeto dust on your feet?”
-“Do not lick the toilet seat. Do NOT lick the toilet seat!…STOP licking the toilet seat!”

With that last one I was trying to find the most humane way to disinfect Eleanor’s mouth, but couldn’t come up with any answers because all I wanted to do was grab the Lysol or some whiskey and there was no way either one was going to happen. The good news is that she didn’t get sick and she’s doing just fine now.

What are some of the stranger things you’ve said or heard someone else say to a little one?

Holy Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies, Batman!

I have a new favorite cookie recipe.

The original recipe can be found here: chocolate chip cookies

But I can’t make a recipe without changing something, so here are revised baking directions:

2015/01/img_6716.jpg

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, mostly melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 overflowing teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 (12-ounce) bag chocolate chips (or in my case 3 heaping handfuls from the 4.5 lb Costco bag of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips – shh, don’t tell anyone)
A healthy dose of M&Ms or nuts (a cup? Half a bag? That decision is between you and God!)

Revised Directions:

1. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. (on convection setting if you have it – see note on timing in step 4). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets. Let baking sheet cool completely between batches if you are working with only one cookie sheet.

2. Put the butter in a microwave safe bowl, cover and microwave on high power until almost melted. In my microwave this was for 11 seconds three times – stirring between each heat time. (Alternatively, you can soften butter in a small saucepan; be careful not to overheat). Butter should not be completely melted! Cool slightly. Whisk the sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.

3. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a spoon or spatula; take care not to over mix. Stir in the chocolate chips or chocolate chunks or M&Ms or nuts or whatever makes your tummy happy.

2015/01/img_6714.jpg

4. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared pans. Space the cookies about 2-inches apart on the pans. Bake, until golden, but still soft in the center. For me this was only 9 minutes in a convection oven, but the original instructions call for 12-16 minutes bake time. This is completely dependent on whether or not you are using a convection oven or traditional oven. The next time I make these I’ll skip the convection oven to figure out timing. Transfer hot cookies with a spatula to a rack to cool.

5. Take a bite of cookie. Thank the good Lord for chocolate chip M&M cookies. Take a drink of milk. Repeat.

What I like about this recipe:

– I like soft, thicker, chewy cookies and these totally fit the bill.
– No heavy mixing or creaming. I used a whisk, a spatula and a spoon. The end.
– These are so easy to make that my little Ellie can help me make these with no problems! =) Edit: these are simple to make, but not with a two year old who is being an overzealous helper to get out of bedtime. Sugar and butter went everywhere.