Monday, March 30, 2009

Cinnamon Makes The World Go "Yum!"

I got quite a few requests for the cinnamon bread recipe from yesterday's post. The recipe came from allrecipes, which is chock full of super fabulousness. This one is particularly easy and yummy. I did make a couple of minor changes, and the recipe below will reflect those.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder (If you don't use buttermilk often enough to warrant keeping it around, this stuff is very handy. If you have real buttermilk skip the powder and replace the 1 cup water (below) with 1 cup buttermilk)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons butter
--Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9x5 inch loaf pan--make sure to grease generously. Apparently I didn't do this well enough, so part of the bottom of my loaf stuck. It still tasted good.
--In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, salt, buttermilk powder, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat 3 minutes. Pour into greased loaf pan.--In a small bowl cut butter into 2 tbsp white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the batter. Using a knife, cut in a light swirling motion to give a marbled effect.
--The recipe says to bake 50 minutes. Mine took about 10 minutes longer. It's done when you insert a toothpick, and it comes out clean.
--Remove bread from the pan and let cool on a rack.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

Okay, so I'm terrible at remembering to do weekly themed posts. Scratch that...I've never actually tried to do one, so I can't really know that I'm terrible at remembering to do them. But, I can't seem to ever remember to do the first one, so doing followups is next to impossible. If you're still with me after that crazy rambling, I'm going to attempt my first one. Don't be surprised if I forget to do a second one.
Cool Zebras (who by the way is very cool and helped make me feel like a not so awful mommy last night via Twitter) hosts Simple Joy Sunday. I love her Simple Joy posts, so I've decided to break my habit of forgetfulness and hop on in. Only three Sundays have passed since I originally considered doing this...not too bad.

My simple joys this week:

1. The fact that I actually remembered to do this post--even if Sunday is only a couple of hours away from being over. Very impressive.

2. Cooking with my oh so fabulous "assistant chef."3. Yummilicious Cinnamon Bread.
4. Exploring indoors....
5. ...and out.What are your Simple Joys?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kitchen Love

For a while there I thought Levi would never let me cook again. His anxiety level raised a few notches every time I tried to cook. But, we have finally found the solution...a stool. Turns out the little fella' likes to be a part of the action.
Despite not actually breaking the skin on these oranges, Levi still said, "mmmm" and "ahhh" after every "bite". You would have thought orange peels actually tasted good.
He's actually holding a measuring spoon in this pic. The blur makes it look a tad knife-like at first glance. Not that I'm opposed to little ones honing their knife wielding skills. I just wouldn't be multitasking with the camera and the mixer while he was chopping away. In case you're the very observant type and currently scratching your head, this isn't my kitchen. My mom has a gas stove/oven, so I use her kitchen more often than my own.

Hope y'all have a lovely and scrumptious weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fruit Strips 101

At Target, and probably many other places, they sell these super yummy all natural fruit strips. I love them! Problem number one: I eat them in mass quantities. Problem number two: they are expensive and Target is quite a ways away from my abode.
Problem solved: I found out how to make them. Yay! The best's crazy easy.
about a pound or so of apples and pears
1/4 cup of sugar (This really depends on how sweet your fruit is. You can put less.)
1/2 a lemon

Peel and chop apples and pears. You'll want about 5 or 6 cups of chopped fruit. (This is not an exact science, so don't worry that much about measuring.) Put fruit in blender, squeeze in the lemon juice, and add sugar. Blend. Basically you're making apple/pear sauce. Spread sauce onto 2 Silpat baking mats (silicone backing mats) on baking pans. If you don't have silicone mats you can use a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. I'm just mildly creeped out by baking on plastic wrap, so I use Silpat mats. The sauce should be in a thin but not completely see through, even layer. Turn oven to lowest warm setting. Place baking pans in oven for about 4 or 5 hours. I turn the oven off at this point, and let the strips dry out the rest of the way. I usually just leave mine overnight.
When they are dry: If you baked them on plastic wrap, cut into strips and roll. If you baked them on a silicone mat, transfer to plastic wrap, cut into strips and roll. When cutting into strips, leave some of the plastic wrap hanging off of one end and use it to hold the strips in place once rolled.
Voila! You have your own yummy fruit strips.
I'm pretty sure this would work with store bought applesauce. Let me know if you try it that way.
And, of course, we can't leave out Mommy's little helper. He's really taken a liking to "cooking".

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Is In The Air

And, so is the shopping bug! Unfortunately, my bank account dictates that only cyber-window shopping is allowed. Thought I'd share a few of my favorites. So wish I could update my wardrobe with a few of these cuties:
This lovely Tangerine Number from Bayan Hippo would be the perfect addition to my already ridiculously large collection of bags. :
And this beauty (I impractical with a little one whose fingers are always into EVERYTHING) is from Irregular Expressions:
Can you tell Spring has gone to my head? These little tulips are just screaming to be added to my earring collection. Love the sweet simplicity.
And since Spring flowers just can't be gotten without a little rain, what would a Spring wardrobe be without a cloud or two thrown in. Both the tulips and the clouds can be found at A Little Luster:
I must say, Etsy is certainly one of my favorite places for cyber-window shopping. For that matter, it's one of my favorite places for real shopping when my budget allows. Sigh.....What are your favorite places to shop (or window shop)?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yet Another Video

I promise, I'll post "real" posts soon, but these videos were so stinkin' cute I couldn't resist. Sorry this one's a bit dark. The glaring sunshine caused lighting problems, but I'm so not one to complain about sunshine.
This is seriously how Levi eats the vast majority of his breakfasts. I use the word "eats" very loosely. At breakfast, he insists on having two bowls, so he can switch his food back and forth betwixt the two. Breakfast is not one of his favorite meals, so the food almost never actually makes it into his mouth. But it does make for an entertaining little least, I, being partial to the cute little fella's antics, think so.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hammin' It Up

Normally, Levi won't say words on command, but for some reason he was really hammin' it up for the camera today. This one was especially cute:

Make video montages at

P.S. "Baw-Baw" is what he has recently dubbed his Grandpa.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sweet Surprise

On one of our daily walks, we spotted these lovelies. The best the very hottest point of summer they will transform into big, fat, juicy blackberries. Mmmm, mmmm, good!
Ain't edible nature grand?!

On another note, Levi is still having teething troubles. I expect they will go on for quite some time. He's a slooooooow teether, but he's certainly a trooper.
This morning was beautiful, so as a "teething diversion" I took the little fella' out to help me dig a bit in the garden. Y'all he was so stinkin' cute. I wish my hands hadn't been too covered in mud and dirt to snap a pic of Levi "digging" in the dirt. Next time, I'll have to pull out the camera before I start digging!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunshine, Violets, And A Little Bit Of Attitude

Yesterday, the sun came creeping back to visit. Today is full blown gloriously beautiful.The violets have been peeking their pretty little selves through for a couple of weeks now. They might just be one of my top picks for flowers. Although, you might have noticed that I have quite a few favorites.
Levi is enjoying the weather....
Sort of. . .
He's been a wee bit cranky today. I'm hoping the nap he's currently taking will spiff that attitude right up.
Poor little fella'. I think his teeth might be bothering him. My diagnosis is based on the newly shortened fuse and the horrible sound of 8 little teeth grinding together--it's about as bad as nails on chalkboard.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Drip, Drip, Drip....Meow

Thankfully the rain is not as steady as I had imagined it would be. It has relegated itself to mostly nighttime pouring with scattered drizzles and showers during the day. Thus Levi has not been completely banned from outdoor romping. Although my washing machine does not thank me for this.

The times we've had to head for cover have certainly forced creative use of everyday objects. I mean really, what 16 month old actually wants to play with toys? Not mine for sure, but a basket of that's a treat. And a green mesh strawberry container, the joys in life never cease. Let's not forget boxes, empty cans, spatulas, spoons, and dog crates--yes, my child actually resorted to entertaining himself via climbing into a dog crate. I so wish that my camera had been handy. Of course, even if I did have my camera, I would have been laughing to hard to operate it.

Never fear, sunshine is on its way, and it will be met with much gladness and joy...and meowing. Yes, it's true, aliens stole my little fella' and replaced him with a cat! I now awaken every morning to a sweet meowing coming from Levi's side of the bed. He continues to meow at everything throughout the day. I'm convinced it's the aliens. Any thoughts?

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring, The Old Man Is...

Well, okay, so there's not an old man snoring, but you get the picture. It's gone from beautiful spring weather to cold, dreary, and very wet. There's no hope of sunshine for days. Levi is so not going to understand. Every morning he pokes me in the eyeballs then hugs me (I suppose so I won't be mad about the eyeball poking). Then he begins pointing to his shoes. If I don't pass the shoes to him, he climbs out of bed to get them for himself. Then he does his little "uh-uh" routine while pointing from the shoes to his feet and looking expectantly at me. I oblige, and put the shoes on his little toes. He promptly heads for the door--sometimes he gets sidetracked on the way, but eventually he gets to the door. And, he knocks on it like someone on the other side is going to let him out. All of this before I've had the chance to change his diaper, shower, or make breakfast. I gently explain the to do list which he doesn't get, but generally a cracker or muffin convinces him to sit in his highchair and gaze longingly out the window. After the to do list is done (sometimes before) we head outside. If I'd let him he'd live out there. The next few days are going to be rough. I don't even have a real plan. What do you do with a 16 month old little munchkin who refuses to be cooped up???
Have I mentioned, I don't venture out into the rain for more than just a walk to the car or next door? That's really a whole other blog post, but suffice it to say that I have previously gotten first hand science lessons about lightening. I didn't get struck, but it was a close call. I have no desire to press my luck further. That being said, we won't be taking walks in the rain. I might give in and go out on the screen porch for a little while, but that's as adventurous as I get.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just Can't Get Enough Of It

Spring, that is. There's just something so refreshing about the earth waking up. Buds and blossoms abound.
These delicate beauties are destined to become my favorite summertime snack: blueberries.
And this lovely plant, I'm not sure what it's officially dubbed, but we call it the burning bush. It's quite an eye catcher.

Monday, March 9, 2009

All In A Day's Work

Have I mentioned how much I love Spring? Reason #1: There's more daylight in which to accomplish all those very important tasks such as sitting on the lawn mower going, "Vroom, vroom!"

Reason #2: The flowers! Eventually we pulled ourselves away from vroom vrooming to wander around and admire nature's beauty.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Best Kind Of Cheap Is Free

I've wanted to spiff up the yard a bit lately, but my yard spiffing up budget is somewhere around nil. The upside to the budget issue is that it forces creative thinking. I'm blessed to live on 40 acres where previous home sites have come and gone. And, previous home sites mean previous yards and gardens which equal plants--plants that have survived with zero care for quite a number of years. Those are my kind of plants! I like low maintenance.
Yesterday, I found myself with a few spare hours, so I dug. And, I dug, and I dug some more! I dug up enough Daffodils, Naked Ladies, and Snowbells to fill up 3 flower beds. I also snagged some Liriope which makes great borders. Here is most of what I dug up:
Sorry, no after pics. Transplanting does cause a bit of a shock to the plants, so they aren't at their most photogenic right now. Though they are taking it better than expected.
My future plans include going after the Nandina that currently resides in the woods. It will make a pretty little hedge to the side of my house. Eventually I'll have to break down and buy some day lilies for summer blooms. I also have some Iris bulbs waiting to be planted. Overall, it's not a bad start.
Here are a few of the last of the Daffodil blooms for the season with an Iris tossed into the bottom pic.:
Hope y'all are having a fantastic weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Save Me From My Crafty Ways!

During nap time, I've been working on these:
I swore I wouldn't let my kid's toys take over the house, but that was before I started making them myself. I'm hooked, and they are starting to take over!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

He Thinks He's A Big Boy Already

Really, he does. He thinks he's grown. He tries to feed himself and brush his own teeth. He even tries to wander off without me (luckily so far only when he's comfortable in the location. i.e. not on busy streets or in stores.) Sometimes he doesn't even want to hold my hand. I should probably be sad, but I love watching him try to do it all himself. And, then when he figures out he still needs me that little hand reaches out and my heart melts into a big puddle.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ergo Giveaway Alert!!!

Attention babywearers and babywearer wannabee's!! Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House is giving away an Ergo babycarrier! From what I've heard they are the bomb, and I would absolutely love, love, love to win one. So on second thought, don't click on the links. Forget I mentioned it. Babywearing, Ergo?? What?? I didn't say that. ;)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Words...Sort Of

Levi's vocabulary cracks me up. Though, I'm not certain that it truly counts as a vocabulary since it primarily consists of animal noises. Thus far he has conquered the following "words":
Baa-as in Baa, baa black sheep
Once upon a time he actually said "da" for dog, but that has since been replaced with the above mentioned "ruff". Then of course there's what we call his indecipherable vocabulary. "Un-duh" belongs to that one. If you find a magic baby translating machine, I'd like to give it a whirl.
He can also sign a few things like "more" which he uses to mean 'want' and 'nurse'. And, then there are the signs for "fan", "light", and "love". Although love has only ever been used in reference to Grandpa.
Oh, and I almost forgot, when he's upset he actually says "Waa, Waa, Waa" just like a cartoon baby. I have to suppress laughter every time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

They're Blurry But I Love 'Em

The flash bugs the stew out of me, so tonight I turned it off. . . generally not a good idea whilst photographing a squirmy munchkin. But, hey, I might as well live dangerously. Not a single pic came out clear. (Hmmm...wonder why??) Most of them only had appendages in the shot, but a few of them I loved--despite their blurriness.
Disclaimer: I've stayed up far too late the past few nights trying to create some semblance of order in my slightly out of control home. So, it's possible that tomorrow I will wake up and go, "Huh?? What was I thinking?" But tonight, with my sleep deprived brain, I'm really kinda liking these.