Saturday, May 28, 2011

The stages of a headcold

I have a head cold.  Or maybe just a really bad reaction to dairy.  (Yes I had a little bit of dairy over a week ago in conjunction with beach travel and for the ease of it.)   Whether it's a head cold contracted at the beach, a bad reaction to the dairy, a head cold greatly exacerbated by the dairy, or a dairy reaction colliding head first 90miles an hour with a head cold, I know not.  But it's been plaguing me the entire beach trip and has continued up till today (and after I imagine).  That's 13 days for anyone that's not counting.

I feel like this congestion go around, either due to my reduced weight or my "generally" healthier body, I am noticing in more [agonizing] detail, all the phases of headcoldy-ness and their miseries.

....I just started to type out the different phases (I kid you not), and then suddenly thought why in the WORLD am I sharing disgusting details that no one wants to read about.  Seriously.  Who wants to hear about my insane tissue consumption, nasal passages, rest of the gory details.  I must be out of my mind to think that was appealing.

Lets just say that not only my whole nose area hurts on the outside from excessive tissue usage, but it hurts on the inside as well.  Not only that, but in the several hours that passed between the first two paragraph and these last several (yes that's right, I get interrupted when blogging), I think something akin to the flu has decided to jump on the ailment bandwagon.  I'm waiting to see if it actually turns out to be that.  But right now, I feel miserable head to toe. 


Friday, May 27, 2011

The Hat!

So after the bad mama went to the beach with a too small 6-12m hat for her 20m old, Aunt Tater stepped in to the rescue with a very very late birthday present for Charlie!!  (So late I totally had no idea she hadn't given him one.)  This is a super fabulous hat - in case you were unaware.  (Three of his cousins even have this hat.)  It is super size adjustable.  It's made of lightweight, fast drying material.  The brim has a thin layer of foam in it to help it float should it come off a head and land in a lake or something.  It has side vents for head cooling (something my little Sweaty Head really needs).  And oh yea, looks totally awesome.  Charlie now has a much more awesome hat than either of his parents.  He will now model it for you.

Didn't really want to pose.

He actually smiled when I said "smile"!!

Love that it has the chin strap to prevent it from blowing away .

He kept hitting his head going "Haa, Haa!"

Modeling the profile shot.

This was the other "smile Charlie!" shot.  Hehe.  

Thanks Aunt Tater for the totally awesome hat!!  :-D

Beach Pictures! Part 1

For the last 4 years my entire family (Mom, Dad, us 5 girls and all of our families) have done a big family beach trip in the summer.  For those that can't keep count or don't know, that's 22 people.  together.  under the same roof. in a house that borderlines too small (okay, IS too small).  for a week more or less.

It's unbelievable.  In so many ways.  :)  And yes stresses come with that number of people on one roof for that long, but a lot of good times as well.  So here is the start of the beach pictures and the good times. :)  I'd love to say that I really have a lot of fabulous ones (I do have some), but honestly, Charlie's face was glued downwards at the sand most of the time, so my good face shots are few and far between.  In no particular order.

Charlie with his biggest boy cousin, James.  Charlie did a lot of digging with James.

Charlie and the too small hat.  The story of the mama who didn't come  prepared.  But oh that just got remedied today as you'll soon see.

He was all about smashing the castles that James made for him.

Yea he's a destroyer.  He loved it.

More digging with James.

I think he had just gotten some water splashed in the face.

That's Conal in the back ground, Charlie's 2 month older cousin.  I just love that he's holding a large shovel and is like "don't mess with me".

Probably the best picture I captured at the beach.  Love him.

No not the ocean.  The big pit was part of a fort that was dug out by two  uncles with shovels.  Charlie and Conal had a ball playing in it.  When the Baughmans go to the beach to build in the sand, we get serious about our forts.

L-R: my sister Julie, her daughter Anna, and my sister Carrie, enjoying some nice sun.

More James with Conal and Charlie.  James was great with the little guys.  We were so grateful.

Playing in the sand is so much better with two.

I've got some more pictures coming, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Totally awesome flowers

I found these on Etsy last night and immediately FELL. IN. LOVE.

These belong to FlowerThyme's shop, and I must say, her work looks amazing!  I just cannot get over how fabulous they look.  I have grown up generally hating all forms of fake flowers, but these paper roses just make me want to have bouquets and bouquets around the house.  The violet bouquet above particularly draws me in, but she has some gorgeous pinks, reds, greys, autumn colors, and I also really like her fun funky blue/green colors as well.   I see that she has done some custom orders for entire wedding parties!  Oh, if she had been around when I got married and I had known about her, it would have been yet one more unorthodox thing I would have wanted much to my mother's chagrin.  While I don't have the money to afford these yet due to our penny pinching during these last months of W's PhD work, they look very reasonably priced for a bouquet that will never die and can be used as decoration after a wedding or rotated in and out depending on the season. 

FlowerThyme, I hope you stick around for a while.  Your work is beautiful!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Starbucks style

So we got home from vacay this past Sunday.  I'll be posting some pictures from that as soon as I sort through them.  It was a good trip, although as I am learning as a mother now - not so restful.  Anyways, we got home on Sunday so William could go to work on Monday like normal, only to find that his truck wouldn't start Monday morning.  Bummer.  Not what you want to deal with in post-vacation, sleepy zombie land.  So poor William had to spend all of his Monday out in the heat trying to diagnose what was wrong with the truck.  He was so tired and frustrated, I knew he just needed a caffeine kick in the pants.  Normally I don't advocate drinking caffeine, although I do drink it on occasion when my eyes are about to shut.  Not great, but it could be worse.  We don't keep sodas around, which leaves us with only hot caffeinated beverages.  Not great for working outside in the heat.  So I had the brilliant idea of making our own ice-mocha-coffee drink thing.  And it was just that - brilliant.  (Or extremely bad now that I know it can be made and is AWESOME!)

So there is nothing healthy about this.  I don't advocate making this on ANY kind of regular basis.  But if you are desperate, here is a rockin' iced coffee drink.  And SO much cheaper than buying yourself some crazy thing at your local coffee shop.

All the amounts are approximates as I was eyeing and dumping.

2 cups ice
2 Tbsp instant coffee brewed in 1/2c water
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4c of cream (creamer, dry creamer, non-dairy cream or milk) - anything will work)
1 heaping Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder

Blend in blender adding a bit more water or cream as needed. 

This is actually not quite as sweet as some of the mocha fraps in this world, so maybe it has that in it's favor, but it's still SO good.  You could experiment with healthier sweeteners, but all I had was agave and dates - which somehow just didn't seem to fit an iced coffee drink.  So I used what little refined sugar I have still in the house.  The chocolate was not too pronounced in this batch, so I think whenever the next time is that we are desperate for a cold caffeine drink, we'll try using 2 Tbsp of the unsweetened cocoa powder.  I can only imagine how good this would be if you used coconut milk in place of cream.  Alas I didn't have that on hand and hubby is not a big coconut person, so we didn't do that.

So there you go.  My first unhealthy recipe posted.  But it falls under the frugal category, so I figured I'd share it anyways.  Plus it was just SO good.  Enjoy sparingly! :-D

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beaching it up

We are finally beaching it up!  We're at the beach and doing our best to relax as much as possible, although with only one kid even, we are figuring out that vacation with a family does not always mean relaxing and easy going.  Hopefully I'll be able to post some fun beach pictures of Charlie this week if I can ever remember to get my camera out to the beach.  I'd love to have hopes of getting to some blogging I've been meaning to do lately, during nap times here, but I'm skeptical.  In the mean time, we're excited to be here and having fun! :-)

He was excited to be standing up high on a stool. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Banana Juice

I have to admit, high as my ideals were about getting my kid to just drink water, I have come crashing down...a wee bit.  Given that Charlie's diet has consisted of plant based diet without too many alluring and tempting processed flavors, I figured straight up H2O would be right up the kid's alley.  I mean his "sweet" foods have consisted only of fruit and sweet potatoes - no juice, no processed sugar.  So I became pretty frustrated when he wouldn't drink water (at least more than a sip here and there).  The novelty of using a big boy straw cup had worn off, he was not a huge fan of just drinking from a cup, and he was just not buying it.  So that's when I set my standards a bit differently.  (It actually happened while he was sick and I was actually worried that his liquid intake was much too low.)  I decided to make my own "juice."  Hence, banana juice was born.

It is ridiculously simple and just what I need to get him to consume water.  All I do is take a 1/4-1/2 of a banana (depending on size) and a cup of cold water and blend the two in my blender.  It provides just enough taste to get him to drink it.  It's not even really sweet, the water just has a taste to it.  So there you have it.  Plain and simple.

To facilitate the juice process I generally freeze a couple bananas already broken up into 4ths (or 3rds if they are small bananas), so that I can just pull one out and pop it in the blender.  Frozen chunks help keep the juice cold while blending and the pre-broken, frozen chunks also help me to be able to make juice fresh for the day fairly quickly.  Since I don't keep the juice more than a day (as it starts to oxidize), I can't make up a large quantity for several days.   So anything I can do to make the actual juice-making-moment faster is good.  There may be some small pieces that don't get blended up, but that's okay.  Just spoon them out if it's a problem.

There you have it.  No, it's not actually as fast as pouring juice from a bottle.  But it's still pretty quick, and he's not getting any extra dyes, preservatives, sugars, HFCS, alternative sweeteners, or anything.  I have to admit, I do foresee times in our near future where having a bit of actual apple juice on hand to heavily dilute for drinking will happen just for ease (vacation coming up), but as long as we're home and I can swing it, I'll make our more natural "fruit juices".  Maybe next time I should toss in an apple chunk or frozen blueberries instead.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Charlie's first strawberry picking! (A picture extravaganza)

Last Thursday I took Charlie out for his very first strawberry picking!  We were lucky enough to be able to have my good friend Karoline go with us to make a good time even better!  Charlie was a champ through out it all and I think was pretty intrigued by the whole thing.  He picked a few berries himself but vastly preferred just putting the berries I handed him into the bucket.  I succeeded in not getting him to throw the strawberries in the bucket like balls, but he didn't exactly place them in the bucket either.  It was more of a "gentle toss" from 6-8inches away.  I figured that was pretty good for our first picking.

Attempting to pick

"look at these things in the bucket, Ma!"

"So heavy"

I think that was a "gentle toss" caught in the action.

"Yea so what are we doing here again, Mama?"

I love that he looks so skeptical.

examining his precious berries

but oh the decisions about what to do with the precious berries.

I love that grin.

helping Karoline pick a berry

Mama and Charlie

Love it!

Love it x2!  I only wish Charlie had gotten the memo to look at the camera.  Oh well. :)

So that was Charlie's first adventure strawberry picking.  We went yesterday again with some church friends and this time the berry squishing started.  Once that happened our time at the farm was shortened.  But it was still a lot of fun.  Charlie actually spent most of the time trying to crawl into someone else's stroller to play with his Sunday night nursery buddy.  But when I finally got him to stop crawling on the stroller and the baby, the berry squishing began.  Gotta love it.

Have you been strawberry picking at any great farms this year?  We might try a different farm next time.  This farm had a killer price ($1.45/lb - half of what strawberry prices are at my local Farmer's Market), but the berries weren't always the sweetest.  Any farm recommendations?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What did you have for dinner tonight? The pasta salad edition.

I love pasta salad.  Really I do.  It's not something that I eat with a lot of frequency, but I love it nonetheless.  And as the warm months approach and I search desperately for more "cold" meals to replace our soup staples, pasta salad tends to become a once a week thing for us in the summer.  I make sure that the pasta is always a whole wheat pasta or grain/legume pasta (never just white), and I try to put in as many veggies as possible.  Then the trick is finding a healthy sauce or dressing to go over the pasta that doesn't just slather on the calories and fat.  (And trust me that can be tricky.)  The pasta salad pictured is one of our new/changing favorites.  It's a little strange because while the dressing is one I've used twice now (and found over at it tasted different the second time I made it even though I can't think for the life of me what might have changed between the first and second time.  It's bizarre.  But it's SO good.  So I'll give you the rough recipe of this pasta salad.

We'll call this Creamy Dijon Pasta Salad, since the dressing is Dijon-y.

Salad Part

1 - 14oz box of WW pasta or Barilla PLUS Multigrain pasta*
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1 cucumber, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 green onions (white and green parts), chopped
1/4c red onions, minced
(Any other veggies you might want to add - broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, colored peppers, etc)

Mix all ingredients in a LARGE bowl.  Set aside and make dressing.

Creamy Dijon Dressing  (recipe taken from

4 ounces silken tofu**
1/4 cup organic flax oil**
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
1 small tomato
2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos, or soy sauce
3 Tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 1/4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1-inch chunk onion
1 Tablespoon minced chives
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and pour over pasta salad.  Mix well.

*Barilla PLUS is an interesting pasta I've found that, while it does unfortunately contain regular white semolina in it, also contains a flour blend of grains and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed, barley, spelt, and oats) which I like.  It does contain egg whites, so it is not actually vegan.  But you can always find a strict vegan pasta if you prefer.  I'm not really sure whether this is better or worse for you than regular WW pasta, but it's fun to change things up, so that's why I've been trying it.

**I did not use the tofu or flax oil, but instead used a can of Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed, with maybe 1/3c of sunflower seeds.  I generally steer clear of soy where possible, and I opted for seeds/nuts instead of straight up oil as the fat to make it a bit creamy.  Worked liked a charm.

This salad really is SO tasty and you'd never miss the high-fat dressings that usually accompany pasta salads.  This salad has a much lighter feel since it's loaded with veggies and the sunflower seeds are the only significant source of fat.  Also, don't be put off by the long list of ingredients in the dressing.  With the exception of washing your tomato, and cutting a chunk of onion, most of the ingredients come out of a bottle, which means it's still a pretty quick deal.  No not as quick as pouring premade dressing from a bottle, but I can just about guarantee you that it will always be healthier.

If you try this one, let me know what you think.

Do you have a really great pasta salad you love?  I hunting for a couple more that I can rotate in for the summer, so send them my way! :)
  • Monday, May 2, 2011

    May gets crazy and a little low-fat vegan link love

    Things have been a little quiet over here on the blog front.  May tends to get that way.  Well, late April-early June tend to get crazy which means a little blog tends to get quiet. :)  I have a recital for my students coming up this weekend, my husband's middle bro is graduating the following weekend and then that following Monday morning we leave to go to the beach for a week with my family (with lots of other little things in between).  So blogging will probably be a little sparse - we'll see. :)

    But in the mean time, I ran into this blog post this morning in my reader.  I've just started reading JLGoesVegan and am really enjoying it.  I like that by her own admission she is a high-fat vegan and but that as she ages, or for health reasons in general, eating a low-fat vegan diet might be advisable.  The guest poster is a low-fat vegan who has read and, from what I can tell, mostly follows Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman. :)  Which makes me happy since he's a favorite in our house.  It's just a refreshing post about how low-fat doesn't have to be tasteless, and how too much fat, even too much good for you fats (nuts, avocados, etc) can actually hinder you.  Like her, I notice that my tummy sits a little heavier and just slightly uncomfortable when I consume too much guacamole, nuts or nut butter.  I had a PB and banana sandwich for the first time yesterday (and LOVED it), but noticed that with the combination of bread (which I don't eat a lot of), and PB (which I rarely eat anymore and know is not technically a nut butter), my stomach was feeling very heavy.  I LOVE the taste of guac and nut butters, but vastly prefer the almost "lighter than air" feeling I have in my tummy after consuming a large salad with beans or bean based dressing/dip.

    Anyways, I thought it was interesting.  What do you think?