Thursday, December 31, 2009

Easy chicken and dumplings

I haven't posted any recipes lately because frankly lately I haven't cooked much. The girls decided they wanted to make chicken and dumplings. This is the easiest way to make quick and easy chicken and dumplings. We made enough for three (Lyn, Annika, and I were the only ones home). Pour two cans of chicken broth into a pan and set to bowl. As it is heating up take three small to medium sized flour tortillas and cut or break them into small pieces (they will be the "dumplings"). Add a drained can of chicken to the broth and season to taste. I added dried onions, oregano, and a good bit of black pepper. When the broth is boiling well drop in the pieces of tortilla. They will plump up and soak up all the flavor of the broth. And there you have it. The easiest chicken and dumplings ever.

Goodbye 2009

This has been an up and down year. We moved into a new house, I started graduate school for a second masters. (I then withdrew to spend more time with the kids.) We had to buy a new heating / air conditioning unit. (They are expensive.) I spent the majority of the year pregnant and still working one full time job and two part time jobs. (I like 'em though.) Annika started gymnastics. Lyn played volleyball for the second year in a row. Danny grew it seemed like a foot in height. Connor is now old enough to KNOW for sure he doesn't want his hair cut the way his mother prefers. Evan started talking more age appropriate. Now he NEVER I mean NEVER stops talking. Eliot has turned into such a big girl who is so bright it blows my mind sometimes. WOW! What will 2010 hold? At least a new little boy to get to know. Maybe a real summer vacation this go around. Life is good when you know where to look. I hope everyone who reads about my life and experiences has a good new year.

Hanging out at Danny and Annika's birthday party April 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tent fun

The kids have been playing with Evan's new fish play tent. Eliot got one too. It was a tree house tent. We were stalling the kids and trying not to put Eliot's up for a while. She drug the heavy box into my room and put her little hands together and said "please Mama open me?". How could I turn that down? Of course Lyn was the leader and put the tent together with "help" from the little kids.

They were having a lot of fun once it was put up but there really wasn't enough room in the tree tent. I took Evan's fish tent and faced its door towards the tree tent's door. Annika and the little kids brought pillows into the tents and played away till bath time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


A friend of mine stopped by work today to bring me some baby slings. I am a big fan of baby wearing. I believe it is important to keep your little ones close to you. My friend actually made two of the slings in the pictures. The black one Annika and Eliot tried is actually made to get wet. The black and white one that Lyn is wearing is more heavy duty for daily wear. The one Evan is actually trying to get into is a Wendy Bellissimo carrier. We use slings at work all the time to help parents position their infants and toddlers in therapeutic ways. Many children with special needs that either have low or high muscle tone benefit from being carried in slings. Not to mention it is just an easy way to have your baby or toddler with you as much as possible. I am counting down the days till my new little boy is here and ready to go for a ride in one of his new slings.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What to do today?

The little kids are at that age where they really need a goal during the day or they get really cranky and on each other's nerves. To just get out of the house today we went to a local McDonald's that had an indoor playground. We got there when they were still serving breakfast. Of course I needed my french fry fix so we hung around till lunch was being served. Lyn was such a big helper with the little kids. I wasn't quite up to climbing through all of the tunnels. I never push Lyn to be a "little mama". I always let her choose if she wants to help with the little kids. She is naturally nurturing and seeks out activities with them. She'll have her fill and escape from them but I can already tell she has a bit of a knack with kids. Whether she has any of her own in the future or not she has a way with kids.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I found them!

I have my cloth diapers ready for the new baby but I needed some new diaper pins or fasteners. I just didn't keep up with all of my old ones. I prefer to use pins instead of all in one diapers or diaper covers that hold diapers in place. I guess I am just a bit old fashioned. I did not realize how hard it would be to actually find diaper pins. I looked in every local discount store and baby speciality store in my area. I was about to order some online but I just couldn't see spending shipping on such an inexpensive item. My last place to look was K-mart. I found them! I also found some colored cloth diapers. They are sold as burp cloths and that is probably what I'll use them for. I just like them to add a little color to my day.

And the winner is......

Congratulations Michelle!!!!!

Michelle was the lucky winner of my free book giveaway. Thanks for commenting on my post. I'll be having more giveaways in the future. Good luck to anyone who tries their luck.

A very scientific method know as pulling a name from a hat was used to determine the winner.

NPR articles I enjoyed today

Snowfalkes falling all around!!

But are they geometrically possible?
This article on NPR informs us all that the majority of snowflakes we see in pictures and other artists' rendentions are not actually possible in nature. I even had a hard time finding a clipart picture that was based on the natural 6 sided nature of true ice crystals for this post. Check it out. It's short sweet and informative.
A Single Man
This review of a new Colin Firth film was on NPR on my way to work this morning (yes some of us have to work today). It sounds like a great movie. I'm putting it on my must see list. Go to the link and listen to the whole review and let me know what you think.

Facebook fan page

I know it may seem silly to have a blog and a Facebook fan page since the majority of the posts and information on both overlap but it is an easy way to update people on new posts. It is easier for some people to get a live news update or status update than it is to follow a blog. Check out my fan page and become a fan if you like!

Last day for my free book giveaway!

Go to my post labeled Free Book Giveaway and comment on the post to enter to win this book. Post as many times as you like to have more chances to win. Good luck!! The drawing will be today at 12 noon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All of my babies

I was playing around with a photo editing program and made a collage of baby pictures. I put two of each of the kids in it. I guess I will need to update it next month.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's all about the frogs

Ever since I had an albino African clawed frog in my classroom years ago I have liked frogs. I don't go overboard but here are a few of the frogs I've spread around the house. I enjoyed making a lot of frog projects in my classroom. Now I am able to incorporate frog activities into my individual activities working as a developmental specialist. One of my favorite room decorations that I enjoyed making was a frog birthday wall.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice. Nine years ago at 7:47am I welcomed my sweet second son, Connor, into this world. It was a cold icy early morning when we made it to the hospital just in time. He weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces. I use this day to talk to my kids about the importance of the change in seasons and the history behind the celebrations centered around this time. Here is a link to some history about the winter solstice. A book that we like to read on this day is The Shortest Day Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer. It is a great book that covers all kinds of celebrations that center around this time of year. It also explains the science behind the change of seasons. At the end of the book it details a lot of winter activities and crafts for all ages. Check out for a more detailed review of the book.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Connor's birthday celebration

Connor's birthday is tomorrow. Almost 9 years ago on a very cold night I made it to the hospital at 9 centimeters dilated to deliver an 8 pound 3 ounce baby boy. Today we celebrated his 9th birthday. Connor picked out his own cake and was excited to receive his gifts. The kids also received some gifts from other family members today. They had fun making a mess and just plain being kids. I added a slide show on the sidebar to show off more pictures than I could fit here. (I removed the slide show but it is still available as a Picassa Web album.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Fun

The little kids had fun spending time playing today with their cousins. Lyn and Annika tagged along and enjoyed themselves.

35 weeks and counting

Five more weeks to go. Everything went fine at my doctor's visit earlier this week. My maternity leave at work is all arraigned and we pretty much have everything ready for the little one. All the diapers are washed and waiting. I went through all of the baby clothes and picked out the ones we need right away. The car seat is waiting by the door. All I need to do now is pack my bag and find all my breast pump parts. We are getting a little excited. I can't wait to meet our newest addition.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's in a name?

One of the names we are thinking about for the new baby is Bennett. I am not set on it 100% but I think it sounds good. We would probably call him Ben for short. At work today on my way to a home visit I came across this street sign. Is it a "SIGN"? Should our little one take this name? We'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

To knit or not to knit - that is the question

As I was looking for some wool cloth diaper covers online I came across a pattern for knitting one. The site I found it on is great. They don't sell the actual clothing but they sell the knitting, crocheting, and sewing patterns so you can make the items yourself. Now, I only wish I knew how to knit. This week I am off to the library to find a book that will attempt to teach me how to knit. With that and the power of youtube maybe I can acquire a new skill. Check out Near Sea Naturals' site to see what they have to offer. Here is a picture of the diaper cover that started it all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some light reading...

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. Most of my choices are new mom, breastfeeding, and mothering books. Some I've read many times and others are new releases. This weekend I needed something lighter to read. I chose something by Anne McCaffery. She has written a lot of fantasy / science fiction books. I started reading her books when I was about 14 years old. I have copies of a lot of her books. I started reading The Rowan on Saturday and finished it this afternoon. Her books are fairly light reading. It was just what I needed to relax. There are quite a few books in the series with The Rowan being the first in the series. I've read them all many times. If you like stories about ESP or space travel you may want to give this one a try. I added a link to if you want to check out.

by: Anne McCaffery

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Free Book Giveaway

La Leche What?

I went to my first La Leche League meeting today. I have always known about the group and knew they offered a lot of information and support to breastfeeding mothers but I never attended a meeting. I know, I know... what does a mother who has successfully breastfed six children already need with a breastfeeding support group. You never know. I think I went to just be around other mothers to feel a connection with like minded individuals. Now, I think I might actually be able to help a new mom along the way. I plan on going to some more meetings and who knows I may try to be a leader of a new group. There are quite a few under served areas in Alabama that don't have regular groups that meet. This topic leads into what I've been meaning to do for a long time. I have a favorite book about breastfeeding that I want to share. I have a copy that I want t o give away. It is an older book but its format is great. It's simple and the color pictures in it are very helpful. All you have to do to win it is to comment on this post about breastfeeding. I would hope that your comments will be helpful and supportive of breastfeeding. But, I'll welcome any comments. They will be moderated first so don't worry if they don't show up right away. I'll give everyone some time to get some comments in. I will draw a winner Christmas Eve. Here is a description and a link to the book on so you can get a look at what you are trying to win. I have an old reader review on the book listed on when I had just 4 kids. Read at your own risk. Good luck!!!

Breastfeeding Your Baby

by: Sheila Kitzinger

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly

Readers will not be persuaded that a natural, commonplace activity like breastfeeding warrants an illustrated how-to guide, even if, as Kitzinger asserts, "women often lack confidence," and, hence, cause themselves unnecessary difficulties because of nervousness and anxiety. With a simple, short explanatory text and some 200 photographs (approximately 100 in color) of nursing mothers, the author of The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Child birth sets out to dispel fears about breastfeeding and conveys practical advice about positioning the baby, interpreting the baby's sucking rhythms, maternal nutrition and breast care. The most valuable parts of the book, however, are not on honing "technical skills" but those that treat aspects of the intimate communication between mother and baby--during breastfeeding and beyond. Kitzinger encourages the mother to involve the father in the burdens of infant care--as well as the rewards of nurturing--and to link up to a supportive network of women with children who can share both her positive and negative experiences and help her to maintain perspective during the emotional first months of a baby's life. Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Mama picture me"

My little shutter bug went to get my camera and asked for a picture of herself in her "new hat". She brought it to me and said "Mama picture me". I couldn't say no. The hat came out of the clothes bags I was going through to find newborn boy clothes. We have a little more than 6 weeks to go before the new baby arrives so I thought I would attempt to get organized. We have everything we need pretty much. I just have to find it and get everything clean and ready to go. It's hard to believe my little girl will be a big sister soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

These boots are made for walking.....

I found some boots that came in sizes for all the girls. They are not very durable and a bit on the cheap side but the girls were so excited to get them. They marched all around the house. Of course Evan felt a bit left out. Dad looked through the attic and found an old pair of Lyn's boots that were close in color to the new boots. He found an old pair of Annika's rain boots too and Eliot claimed them. Evan slipped them on over his footed pajamas and joined the girls in marching around the house. Try not to look too close at Evan's PJs. Yes, they are girl PJs. They were clean and he really likes pajamas with feet. What's a mom to do?

She's a natural..

This is the first year Annika has participated in any kind of gymnastics. She is doing very well. She has made it to the more advanced class. I think she was made for this sport. She takes to it with such an ease that I know I never could. She amazes me how flexible and strong she is. Most of all she is enjoying herself. These pictures were taken way across the gym with my not so great camera. I'm sorry about the quality. I'm not sure if I have an Olympian on my hands but I'm not so sure I don't!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Apple Game

The way children invent their own play never ceases to amaze me. Evan climbed up on a stool in the kitchen and started playing with apples of all things. He used his imagination and dramatic play to interact with the apples. They were talking, dancing, going to bed, and playing. He brought the bowl of apples into my room and had them talking up a storm. When I asked him what he was doing he said he was playing an "apple game". His dad went and got the camera and we caught him in action. He had me picking out colors and then trying to juggle. You got to love those young'uns!!