So Long, March!

I, for one, am thrilled that April starts tomorrow. March has dragged (it was almost as bad as January), and the vast majority of my time was spent either being sick, or taking care of sick people. I am sick of the sick and hopeful that April will bring not only warmer temperatures and buds and flowers, but also healthier people!

So yeah, I changed my layout again. Well, the header at least. It’s OK. I really liked the owl layout that I had up for about 10 minutes last week, but then I realized that it was adding a link to some site advertising real estate in India. I deleted it five different times, and then about an hour later it would show up again. That made me a little uncomfortable so I changed the layout back to this one, deleted that other theme off my site, and proceeded to change all my passwords just in case. I probably overreacted, but my passwords were up for rotation anyway. So this will have to do for now.

Tonight I went down to the town hall to vote in our district’s special election. I’ve been amused by how much national attention the Tedisco/Murphy race has been getting! I was surprised by how many people were voting tonight. I guess all the publicity is making people get out, and that’s a good thing. Of course, usually my vote is cast closer to 7 a.m., and not 7 p.m. like tonight, so maybe this is usual. At any rate, I fulfilled my civic duty for the day.

That was pretty much the most exciting thing I did today, LOL! Otherwise it was laundry and some sewing. I whipped up a pick pocket for Drew — and yes that is really what they’re called. It’s a little pouch to store his guitar picks. I finished a bib. It didn’t come out great, but OK for my first time sewing something other than a straight line. I’ll work on a couple more. And Drew also has me working on a roll (like the crayon roll) for some tools. I think it’s safe to say that he’s making out pretty well with my new hobby 😉

Sugar Cookie Cake

Sugar Cookie Cake

For some reason I cannot make a decent sugar cookie to save my life, and that’s when I turn to this recipe. It’s yummy with whipped cream (OK, I used Cool Whip — sue me) and berries, it’s awesome with some lemon curd spread on top, and I want to make a raspberry sauce to drizzle on top before the cake is all gone. You could add chocolate or toffee chips, cinnamon, heck even blueberries in the batter would probably be amazing. It’s one versatile little cake and I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do!

Sugar Cookie Cake

3/4 c. cold butter
3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. buttermilk *
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, and flour into crumbs. Reserve 1 cup of crumbs. Add 1 tsp. of baking soda to the buttermilk, and then add this to the rest of the crumbs. Add in the eggs and vanilla; mix well and pour into a greased 9×13″ pan. Top with the 1 cup reserved crumbs.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).

I find that this cake tastes best warm, so if you’re not eating it straight from the oven, just warm it for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave.

* I rarely have buttermilk on hand. As a substitution for use in this recipe, add 1 1/2 Tbsp. of lemon juice or white vinegar to a measuring cup and then fill it until the 1 1/2 cups mark. I’ve used both types of acid with successful results, so use what you have on hand.

Week’s Eats


This month has not been an easy one so far, as far as cooking goes. It seems that since the beginning of the month, the entire family has had some form of stomach flu, cold, cough, you name it. I’m really getting tired of it! So while I was shopping yesterday I tried to be thoughtful and plan out my menu since I had the luxury of time and solitude. Here’s my plan:

B: Oatmeal or cheesy toast
L: Hot dogs
S: Taste-test of sugar cookie cake
D: Homemade pizza (chicken and veggie for us, pepperoni pizza for the boys), salad, sugar cookie cake for dessert

B: Bagels with cream cheese
L: Chicken quesadillas
S: Slice of ham or turkey wrapped around string cheese
D: Cube steak with mustard sauce, baked potato, broccoli

B: Cereal & fruit or yogurt/granola
L: Turkey-bagel sandwich, fruit salad
S: Veggies & ranch dip
D: Tacos

B: Scrambled eggs or frozen waffle & sausage, fruit
L: Grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup
S: Yogurt/cereal
D: Meatballs & sausage (Crock Pot) with spaghetti, salad

B: Cereal & fruit or Yogurt/Granola
L: Leftovers
S: Cheese & crackers, grapes
D: Turkey chili, cornbread, cole slaw

B: Eggs & toast or cheesy toast
L: Tuna melts, soup
S: Yogurt & fruit
D: Baked macaroni & cheese, salad

B: Pumpkin waffles, bacon, fruit
L: Leftovers
S: Cheese & crackers, veggies
D: Date night (???)

These are all family favorites. I’m feeling worn out and can’t handle anyone complaining about what’s for supper. For more menu ideas, head over to Organizing Junkie.

sniffly saturday

vapexIt shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve caught a cold, especially after Noah was sick all week. But it’s still a bummer. I have the same lovely post-nasal drip that he is still fighting. And I’m also ridiculously exhausted today, even after sleeping in until 7:30 (thank you again, Drew, for getting up with the munchkins). I had planned on cutting out fabric to sew up some baby bibs today, but my motivation level is at absolute zero. I did drag myself to the store with Drew, who wanted some velvet to cover something on his amp. So at least I managed to buy the snaps I need for the bibs, as well as a couple zippers for pouches I plan on making.

We also need to drag ourselves to church this afternoon. Jake wants to attend the “Summer with the Shepherd” day camp that our church offers for CCD students for a week in the summer and registration is after this weekend’s Masses. Plus, we should probably make ourselves seen since I will need to make that call about having the baby baptized later this summer. I’m afraid the priest is going to have no idea who we are — oops! Anyway… after that I plan on getting into my jammies and more than likely heading to bed early. So much for all the stuff I wanted to work on this weekend!



How big does a strawberry really need to be? I am almost afraid to eat this! I try to buy in-season fruit, but strawberries are the exception since Noah loves them so much. I look forward to normal-sized, local strawberries in a few months, that’s for sure.

In other grocery news, it looks like my Stop & Shop is going to be trying out a new self-scanning program. Dara wrote about her experience shopping this way and I’m eager to give it a go, myself. First there were the credit card machines where you scan your card yourself. Then, self-service aisles. Now this. I usually only pick up a few things while I’m there, so this new method might work for me. Have any of you tried something similar?

Oh, That’s Right…

I have a blog. It’s not even like I’ve been that busy, so I guess I just have not had much to write about. Actually, the last two days have been spent primarily in the rocking chair with a sick little boy cuddled up on my lap. Monday night around 10 p.m. Noah started coughing and just didn’t stop no matter what we did. He’d had a bit of a cough off and on since late last week, but nothing alarming. I ended up taking him to the pediatrician yesterday morning and thankfully his chest sounded clear, so the doctor chalked it up to post-nasal drip. Some Benedryl and rest have worked wonders. He’s still in no shape to go out and play or anything, but he’s got a little more life to him today. Poor little man was so pitiful yesterday. 🙁

Let’s see… what else is new. I had an OB appointment today and everything was fine. I hate seeing my weight go up, but at least it’s temporary. I’ll be happy when I can start losing it again. We’ve been watching quite a few movies lately: Klute (awesome 70s pseudo-noir flick), Punisher: War Zone (rather disappointing, read Drew’s take on it), Moving Violation (sheer 80s fun), and The Transporter 3 (entertaining, plus Jason Statham is pretty tasty!). We’ve got Midnight Run coming from Netflix today. I haven’t seen that in ages!

I haven’t done much crafting since I made the crayon rolls last week. I’ve crocheted a few rows on my ripple blanket, but that’s about it. I have lots of ideas, just not the time. Hope things have been swell with you!

Such Wonderful Friends!!!

I’ve been journalling/blogging online for a really long time — since November 1999! And over the years I have been blessed with some wonderful friendships. Today Lisanne came over for lunch and brought me a basket full of sweet baby gifts from a bunch of these great girls! Thank you so much to Sara, Dana, Christina, Laura, Ani, Jess, Shannon, Lisanne’s mom, and especially Lisanne for coordinating everything. You all are so sweet and generous — you totally made my day! Look at all the cute baby girl things!

beautiful baby gifts!

We are seriously going to have one well-dressed little lady! I only wish you guys all could have been here in person! Lisanne also brought a delicious lunch: bread, salad, and a yummy Mexican quiche. We had a great visit and it was fun spending time with her mom, too. (If you’ve never met her, Lisanne’s mom is such a great lady!) I’ll get to see them both tomorrow at Luke’s birthday party, too 🙂

Thanks so much to all of you!!!

Freezer Cooking

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a goal of having at least two weeks’ worth of dinners in the freezer, ready-to-go, as well as some breads and muffins. I’d rather prepare the stuff myself rather than rely on convenience foods because, well, it’s a lot cheaper and healthier! Some of the things I plan on making  and freezing are:

– London Broil in marinade (just defrost & grill)
– chicken breasts in Italian marinade (again, just defrost & grill)
– chili
– stuffed pepper soup
– brown a couple pounds of ground turkey to save time when making tacos
– baked oatmeal
– banana bread
– raspberry muffins
– cook & freeze a couple pounds of bacon for sandwiches, salads, etc.
– beef & bean enchiladas
– Swiss chicken
– meatloaf
– twice-baked potatoes
– homemade pre-made pizza (maybe 1 pepperoni and 1 BBQ chicken)

Those ideas are just off the top of my head, but they’re tried & true recipes and things I’ve successfully frozen before so I know they’ll be eaten. I think I’m also going to steal Jess’s idea of freezing some calzones (she mentioned it in the comments section of my last entry). That’s an awesome idea! Naturally I’ll be focussing on my nutrition and trying to eat healthfully since I’ll be nursing and trying to lose the baby weight at the same time. I can guarantee I’m not going to feel like heading to the gym and jumping on any ellipticals for a while, so I need to stay away from the junk food and make sure I have plenty of nutritious, easy to prepare, yet tasty food on hand. I think that’s going to be the challenge! At least it will be summer and grilling season, so it should be easy enough to at least throw a steak or some chicken breasts on the grill and have that with a salad. (Oh, I can’t wait for our CSA to start back up!) I figure that it can’t be too bad — after all I made it through the last two times and everything worked out just fine!

The Big “To-Do”

Yikes! Only 79 days until my due date. Which means 76 days until my scheduled c-section. I know it seems like a while, but I know it will be here soon and I need to get organized. My own personal system memory (a.k.a. “mommy brain”) could use a boost these days — if I don’t write it down I forget it — so I’m writing up this master list mostly for my own benefit. It’s basically just a big “to do” list of things I want/need to have done before the baby is born. Hopefully by having it out here it will keep me accountable! At the very least, hopefully I won’t forget anything.

Must Do:
– Install infant carrier in Forester
– Wash/sort baby clothes
– Pack hospital bag
– Double-check on child care arrangements while we’ll be off giving birth 😉
– Remind my publisher that I won’t be writing articles during May, June, July
– Set up crib (even though dollars to donuts she’ll just want to sleep in the baby carrier like both of her brothers did)

Want to Do:
– Stock freezer with two weeks’ worth of dinners
– Bake and freeze some quick breads and muffins for easy snacks
– Make sure pantry & medicine cabinet are stocked to avoid last-minute shopping trips
– Put together basket with pens, thank you cards, stamps, and address book so I can easily jot notes and mail them off
– Stockpile of at least one month’s worth of diapers
– Write out, stamp, and date any cards that need to go out during the month of June/early July
– Wrap a couple small gifts for the boys “from” their baby sister
– Have a couple of bottles on hand, just in case (already have a sample can of formula, but hopefully nursing will go as smoothly as it did with Noah and we won’t need to resort to this)
– Have comfy post-baby clothes ready (who wants to wear maternity clothes longer than they have to, plus I will need to be mindful of my c-section scar — no jeans for a while, LOL)

Am I missing anything?

First Sewing Project: A Crayon Roll!

Noah really likes it :-)As I mentioned a few posts ago, my sewing machine arrived late last week and I was really looking forward to setting it up over the weekend. I practiced a few stitches but didn’t dive into any projects. However, I did bookmark a couple dozen ideas for future use! For my first project, I decided to make a crayon roll. Currently I keep crayons in a baggie in my purse for when we are out with the kids. Utilitarian? Yes. Cute? No. So this was something I could use, and basically it’s all sewing straight lines. I’m a real learn-by-doing person. I don’t bother with classes because even when I take them, I usually have to re-learn everything by myself when I make mistakes. So this project took me all afternoon, but I think in the future it would be much faster! It was made simple by the fantastic tutorial at Chocolate on my Cranium It’s not perfect, of course, but considering I had never done any kind of sewing before, I’m happy with it and encouraged to try more projects! The tutorial spells out everything really well. I highly recommend it if you’re interested in making one of these crayon rolls! And now, on to the pictures!

All rolled up! Jake picked out the pirate fabric the other day, but didn’t know my plans:
crayon roll, all rolled up!

The outside, opened flat:
outside of crayon roll

The inside, with crayons:
inside of crayon roll

These would make adorable (and frugal!) last-minute gifts or stocking stuffers. I’ve also been thinking that I’d like some labels for when I do my crafts. Ordering personalized labels can be expensive. I suppose I could buy sheets of iron-on paper and print out my own, but then I thought that maybe I could order a custom rubber stamp. Then I could stamp on twill tape with Staz-On ink in whatever color I want and not have extra labels that are just bound to get lost. I might look into that.

For some future projects I have been thinking about bibs, a changing pad, and burp cloths. With three babies in my family this year (me, my cousin, and my sister-in-law!), I’ll have plenty of opportunity to make stuff!