"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Cookie Story

A certain little angel baby was seriously neglected in the making of these cookies!

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Some of you may be surprised to find out that I love to bake, but I don’t like to advertise it because I have several crazy-talented people who read my blog who really love and know how to bake and decorate… one of them even worked at a professional bakery!  It keeps me humble.  Plus, you might not believe me because when I tell you that even though I love to bake, I have never, ever made sugar cookies!  I do not do pretty, I do yummy brownies and other types of cookies and pies that do not require decoration, but I decided to go out on a limb and try my hand at making a pretty cookie.

This all started because I had the privilege of co-hosting a Peter Rabbit themed baby shower for a friend, and then my mom introduced me to an awesome web site called Fancy Flours, and I decided to do a search for Peter Rabbit.  I found a cute little Peter Rabbit cookie cutter, with a picture of a cookie decorated to look like Peter Rabbit.

peter rabbitWouldn’t that be so cool if I could do that??? But I am not that talented, so I decided to keep looking.  I looked around the website some more and I came across something called Wafer Paper, a pretty decorative paper that you can use to decorate cookies and I thought that that might be something I could do!  I found it in a pretty, pretty pink and blue toile, which was perfect since we don’t know the gender of Baby Boyd.  I checked with the other hostesses and told them my idea and they agreed to let me supply the cookies for the celebration.

Originally I thought that sugar cookies might be a cheap contribution that I could make.  I already had all of the ingredients to make the dough, and all I needed besides that was the wafer paper (which was a lot for a little bit of paper) and the cookie cutter.  I was so WRONG.  Yes, I had the ingredients for the dough, but I did not have a rolling pin, icing, food coloring, a pen with edible ink, extra icing or even a decent cookie sheet because I always use a baking stone, and every thing I needed pointed to the fact that I needed something called a Silpat… really?  Suddenly my cheap project was not looking so cheap!  I started to get scared about the difficulty too and I began to wonder if maybe I should write the other hostesses and ask if it would ok to bring wafer paper covered brownies instead… BUT a commitment is a commitment, and I hate to be a flake and go back on my word!

Thankfully I was able to borrow a rolling pin, and I decided that I would have to make due without a Silpat and just use wax paper. Somehow I had wax paper in my pantry; I never use it so I am not sure how it got there, but it ended up being my best friend!  I also decided to just use a pencil to trace the shapes onto the wafer paper because a little lead never hurt anybody. :)

I also armed myself with all of the super, duper awesome advice over at Flour Blossoms.  Have you ever noticed it on the side of my blog?  Some people are so talented, and Lauren is one of them!  I was ready to get started.  I made the dough and followed all of Lauren’s advice to the letter, except I forgot to beat the egg before I put it in the mixer… :/.

P9110789 So I had my dough, and I was ready to get started.  The one piece of advice I didn’t believe was that you should use a lot of flour when rolling out the dough… I was so wrong, and Lauren was SO RIGHT!  I just need to say that for the record.  Use lots and lots of flour!  Also, rolling them flat (but not too thin) is hard…

Thankfully its easy to use a cookie cutter so they came out pretty decent, and I found that my cookies needed to bake around 10 minutes.  Don’t they look pretty?

P9110790While they cooled I got to work on the wafer paper.  This was probably the longest part.  It was just time consuming to trace and cut the paper.  One smart thing I did was save the scraps of wafer paper to test on a broken cookie piece!

After the cookies had cooled and I had the wafer paper cut out, I frosted the cookies.  Then I took corn syrup and brushed it onto the back of the wafer paper and put it on top of the frosting.  The cookies need to be turned faced down for 30 minutes, and then face up for 12 hours to let the wafer paper set.  Thankfully I made these a few days ahead of the shower because this whole process was pretty time consuming.  Being a parent is teaching me not to procrastinate because you can never tell how much time you will have later on!

P9120859 The results?  Not too shabby if I say so myself :).  Someone even said that they were the prettiest cookies that they had ever seen.  (“Oh pssshawww, no” I said as I inwardly beamed with delight!).  I was so proud that I even brought my china platter (that has never been used in 5 years of marriage) to put the cookies on at the shower.

P9120800In the end, I am proud that I made these and kept my word; it would have been so easy to go back on my word once I realized what I had gotten myself into!  I had fun even though it seriously took a very long time.  I will never, ever wonder why people charge $3 a decorated cookie again!  I may make sugar cookies again, but it will be a long time before I do and probably just for fun.  I am pretty sure that next time I need to bring a dessert to a shower, I will stick with brownies!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Start your day off right!

With a huge helping of baby belly laughter :).

She is definitely our oil of gladness!  She is such a joy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mommy Is Losing Her EVER LIVIN, EVER LOVIN Aggie Mind!

So I decided for Thanksgiving, our next big family holiday, that I was not going to do the smorgasbord of clothing that I did for the 4th of July, as fun as it was.  I was just going to get one very special outfit, and that was going to be that!

I wanted something with Turkeys, and I hunted all over the place, including eBay when I finally decided to get this dress:

turkey day dress

Isn’t it cute?  I love the smocked Turkeys!  So I put it in my online shopping cart and got ready to pay, when I suddenly snapped to my senses and bought this one instead:

tamu dressBecause oh my gosh, can you imagine if Isla showed up to Thanksgiving dinner on the day of the aTm/t.u. game wearing ORANGE?  LOL.  I must be losing my mind.

We will probably lose again this year, but in this house, we love our Aggie boys and will never stop rooting for them!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Isla Frances is 5 Months Old!

Happy Birthday to our precious little angel!

Adorable

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Modesty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you believe it?  I can’t.  I doesn’t even seem like a whole month since I wrote her 4 months post!!!  Time is going by way too fast, and I am trying to enjoy every minute of it.

Personality

Isla is so sweet.  She smiles and laughs all the time.  I took her to a baby shower on Sunday and everyone commented on what a sweet happy baby she was.  And that was with completely missing a nap!  Its funny because when I take the Baby Whisperer quiz, she doesn’t really score as an angel baby – she is all over the categories, but she is always smiling and cooing and so easy!  Of course she’s a baby, so she has her moments, but for the most part, she is just as sweet as she can be!

She loves her Daddy, she just stares at him all the time and is always happiest when he is home!

I love my daddy

Favorite Activities

Isla loves to jump in the exersaucer.  She hasn’t quite mastered it, but she will bounce and get really excited, then stop, then start up again.

She blows raspberries all the time.  It cracks Nick and I up, so we let her do it.  If she starts blowing raspberries while she is eating once we start her on solids, then we will work to correct the behavior, but for now, we are just getting such a kick out of her.

She laughed at Frodo for the first time.  We do not let them really play together as getting Frodo excited around her resulted in an accident that left her with a scratched cheek very close to her eye, (It makes me sick to think about it), but she does like to watch him.

She roars like a lion!  I am constantly roaring at her and she roars right back.  It is so funny.

When we put her on Mommy and Daddy’s bed she pushes up on her knees and elbows trying to crawl, then falls down, and then laughs and laughs!

Did I mention she laughs ALLLL the time!

She rolls and twists EVERYWHERE!  I can no longer leave her in one place and expect her to stay there.  I am going to do some research and invest in some type of play yard.  We need to start a more structured independent playtime.

She loves to wrestle with her toys.  She has this awesome little Octopus that her Boo got her, and the other day I swear she reminded me of Captain Nemo wrestling the giant squid!  She was all over her blanket clutching the Octopus squealing and grunting.  It was so funny!

She cannot get enough of her feet!  She is sitting pretty well now, but she would be sitting a lot better if not for her obsession with her feet.  She will also be sitting fine, but then twist and roll on the ground so that she can get over to a toy.

I love my feet

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Her Routine

Isla is some where between at 3.5 hour and 4 hour routine.  Most days she is right on 4 hours, but other days she is a little less.  I think by 6 months she will be completely on a 4 hour routine.  It is so amazing how many things I can do in 4 hours.  I barely need to leave a bottle for her because I can usually be back in time for her feeds if I need to leave her during the day.  She naps 3 times a day, two long naps and a cat nap in the late afternoon/early evening.  She is still exclusively breast fed.  We will start evaluating solids at 6 months.

Isla sleeps through the night, every single night.  The earliest that she has woken up was 6 AM ONCE since she was around 3 months old and no night waking at all in that time.  Isla still has trouble sometimes at bedtime during her “witching hour”, but we have adjusted the routine and she is doing better and I am hoping this time it sticks!  We have pushed back her 3rd nap, and also her bedtime to after 8 PM and she has had a much easier time settling in.  I have to thank my pen pal Kelly for her advice on this one.  It has been such a blessing to have someone to go through all of this Babywise stuff with!  Its amazing when God puts someone in your life at the exact right time to help encourage you and give advice.  Isla now sleeps from 8ish to 7ish with out a Dream Feed.  Which brings me to…

We dropped the Dream Feed at around 4.5 months!  Now she normally eats 4 times a day, sometimes we top her off before bed if her day has been closer to a 3.5 hour routine.  I know the Baby Whisperer says to wait until solids are firmly established (around 7 months), but she started to wake up and cry, I mean a really terrified cry, right after the Dream Feed and it was becoming too much of a disruption to her night time sleep.  So we reduced it a few nights, and one night we completely eliminated it, and she didn’t skip a beat!

Size

I would guess that she is around 16 lbs and still around 25.5 inches… maybe 26 inches.  We are not sure and our home measurements have been so off lately that I think I will wait until her 6 month appointment.  The pink and brown dress she is in is for 9 months!  I can’t believe it she already fits into it perfectly.  When I bought it back in June it seemed so huge!

She is just our little love and we adore her!  I’ve said it before, but she just makes everything so much sweeter!!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Cookbook!!!

I have been in such a cooking rut since Isla was born. I think Nick and I are pretty decent eaters (except we both have raging sweet tooths). I have been making the same old, same old over and over again, and feel like we are both bored and not getting enough variety.

I have been flipping through my cookbooks and online sites trying to find good recipes, but I just can’t find anything for us. I try to avoid recipes that:

1) Have too many ingredients, especially fresh ingredients. I want simple recipes, and I hate buying something only to use half of it and then have to throw the other half away or in our compost pile.

2) Are too unhealthy. As I said before, I feel like we are decent (not spectacular) eaters. We always have fruit and/or veggies at every meal. I don’t buy prepackaged things as a rule (except for the occasional time saving pizza or precut sweet potato fries when I am in a rush and I can’t cut fresh), and I prefer to make most things from scratch. I try to use olive oil and minimize the butter and fatty things. We always use whole grain pasta/bread etc…

3) Take too long unless it is slow cooker recipe… but I am also just not a slow cooker person. You would think slow cooker recipes would be perfect for me but my recipes never seem to turn out!

So I was at the library last week, and I literally did a very fast run through and I came across this cookbook, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and I picked it up.

deceptively_deliciousI had heard of it, but I didn’t think it was for me. I am no stranger to hiding foods within foods… I am married to Nick after all. He will always scarf down lasagna so I try to hide as many nutritious things that he wouldn’t touch otherwise in the layers as I can! Of course I tell him about my deception. Eventually. Plus, I do not like celebrities and rich people as a rule (even though I don’t think they should be taxed any higher than me!). I feel like they live in such a different world than I do, and I doubt that they can relate to my life. I kind of doubted that Jerry Seinfeld’s wife could actually eat and/or make the same things that my family would eat.

So I was surprised at how excited I was about this cookbook once I started to read it. And I got more excited as it went on. There are so many great things in this book!

1) It utilizes a lot of purees that can be frozen! We are about to have a lot of purees in the house once Isla starts eating solids. I plan to make all of her baby food, so we will be using things that I will already have.

2) I love, love the frozen part. That means no more left over veggies going to waste, and it also means that we can use a lot more of the things we get from our garden. I feel bad because we have a lot of things that go bad before we can get to them all. I am still new to this gardening thing, and I am still learning how to store the food. Nick knows how to garden, but I don’t think he was ever responsible for preserving/storing the food afterward. I will learn to make what we grow last longer, but in the mean time, these frozen purees are just the thing.

3) The recipes are simple! Other than the purees, there are not a lot of fresh ingredients other than what I always have on hand anyway, like onions, eggs. Almost every thing is something that I can buy beforehand, like canned tomatoes, beans.

I was so excited that I immediately wanted to get started. Last night, I pureed four things, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. The carrots were just baby carrots that I had on hand from making a roast… I had bought them knowing that they would go bad and I am so excited that I get to use them in something. I made Nick go and get the sweet potatoes from our garden, and the bell peppers and spinach he bought from Wal-Mart on his way home from work.

P9130789I steamed the carrots, bell peppers, and spinach, and I roasted the sweet potatoes. I then pureed them all individually in our food processor! I am so excited to have more excuses to use it. Its so pretty (and PINK like all of my mini appliances), my sweet MIL bought it for me, and my Mom says she gets appliance envy when she looks at it :).

P9130785 I then packaged everything in little snack sized baggies and snuck them in the freezer.

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Tonight, I make Tacos! With ground turkey and whole wheat tortillas and 1/2 cup of pureed carrots mixed in, of course :).

I am so excited about this that I am tempted to start a cooking blog and make once recipe a day for a ye… oh wait… someone already did that! Anyway, I also subscribed to the Sneaky Chef blog. I know that there was a lot of controversy surrounding both books when they came out, but leave me out of it! I just want want healthy, easy recipes for my family.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9-9-09

One year ago today we announced that we were expecting Isla! That was also the day of our first ultrasound, and I was 9 weeks pregnant (on 9/9/09). I can't believe that it has been that long. We found out that were were pregnant on August 5th, and some how we managed to keep it a secret from everyone for over a month! That was difficult, and something that I don't think we'll do again :).

I still can't believe that she's here sometimes. Below are some pictures from the day we found out we were pregnant! For some reason they kept coming out blurry. We took a lot of them. I had opted not to tell Nick my suspicions because we had had too many disappointments in the two years prior to that, but I had had weird cramping for several days. I wasn't late, but it definitely felt weird... and I started to hope! So I stopped at the drug store, picked up the test and I took it without telling Nick. And I waited. And waited. And sure enough it said "Pregnant."

I always thought that I would have some fun way to tell Nick when I found out. I mean, the way we told our parents was to give them a picture frame that said "Grandchildren are a crown..." with a note that said "A Little Wann coming April 2010". But when I told Nick, I just came running out of the bathroom and I think I said something like "We better start saving our money because I'M PREGNANT!" Or something like that... the details are fuzzy :). He was shocked, but soooo happy!!! Its funny because a few days prior we had been discussing our infertility, and he had looked at me and said "I had a dream, and I believe that you will conceive. And I think its going to be a girl." Pretty cool, huh? I can't wait to tell my Isla about it when she gets older.

Anyway Isla is the sweetest gift we have ever received. I need to post some pictures from this week of her in all of her adorableness :).





Friday, September 3, 2010

His Gem

These are just two of the reasons why I adore having a girl:

His Gem outfits...


...and randomly finding bows that perfectly match them!
I just can't get enough of the little gem that wears them both!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Little Scooter

Once upon a time, there was a little angel baby, who when getting the 45 minute intruder during a nap, would coo and talk and maybe even fuss for a few minutes before falling back asleep.

But then the angel baby started to grow and get smart and there was just too much crib to see! When she would wake up early from her naps, instead of staying put and falling back asleep, she would roll and scoot all and test her vocal cords and never ever fall back asleep asleep. One day her Mommy went into to check on her, and she had moved all the way into a corner and had turned her face to the wall!
So her Mommy picked her up, cuddled her and told her how much she loved her but that it was time to go back to sleep and put her back right. Her Mommy picked up her Sheep to turn it on, and the Sheep was very, very wet. Her Mommy suspected that Isla had been visiting with her friend when she was supposed to be sleeping, and had maybe even exchanged a few kisses!
So Mommy left for a few minutes, and when she came back, this is what she found! The little baby had gone back to visit her friend, and the two had cuddled each other to sleep. :)

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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