Monday, January 31, 2011

Favorite of the Day: Baby Babble

Some of Gemma's favorite phrases:

Wambahammwaaam
Awah bawah
Daaaaaaabwah
Mmmmmmmwaaaaaaa
Dah dah dah dah dah dah
Waaah da
Nnnnnnnnn haa
Mwahdadaaaaaammm


It makes the day seem so much more cheerful when I can chat with my baby. Maybe none of it makes sense to us yet, but I just love to listen to her talk. And all day long it is so amusing and comforting to have her little voice fill up the whole room. One thing is for sure, this is one vocal little baby! Heaven help me when she actually starts speaking English! :)








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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mother of Jesus, Mother of All

A simple prayer on a gloomy, gray day.


Hail, White Lily of the ever peaceful and glorious Trinity! 
Hail Vermilion Rose, the Delight of Heaven, of whom, the King of Heaven was born, and by whose milk He was nourished! Do thou forever feed our souls by the effusions of your divine influences.
Amen.


Libraries could be filled with the many, many books, prayers, articles, textbooks, etc. that have been written on the topic of the Blessed Mother. So when I sit here, thinking of something meaningful to contribute, I feel utterly intimidated. There's nothing I can say of Our Lady that hasn't already been said ten times more eloquently. I can only speak of my personal relationship with her.

In the past, and even sometimes still, it can be easy for me to throw Mary to the wayside. Not intentional, just all too easy. In the little time I make for myself to pray at all, I usually tend to go straight to the source, so to speak. In such limited time, I think it must be best for me to just say hi to Jesus really quickly, thank Him for being awesome, and then ask for a few things I need. But this rudimentary approach to prayer is just the tip of the iceberg in a life of holiness.

Now, surely, a brief prayer during a busy day is better than no prayer at all. However, I know that I can go so much deeper. Not only can and should I be making more time for prayer, I can and should be seeking meaningful prayer. And it is at this point that I can truly say, my spiritual life has been strongest when I am clinging to Our Lady. I think of the classic bumper sticker: "No Mary, No Jesus. Know Mary, Know Jesus." And as lame as little catchphrases can be, they can also be so true!!

I think it is particularly wise as a woman, a wife, a mother, to look to Mary, who modeled for us the perfect life of a woman, wife, and mother. We can become so easily distracted, distressed, discouraged in our day-to-day lives, because yes, our lives are craaaazy! But our Savior, the Prince of Peace, came to us that we might also have peace, and he came to us through this sweet and gentle woman, Mary. 
Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of All.

It's common in the Mommy Blogosphere to talk about all the awesome "supermoms" out there, but let's always remember sweet Mary, the number one Supermom! So whether you already have a strong devotion to Our Lady, or have never really given her much thought, I challenge you to get to know her better. She will bless you, love you, and guide you closer to Jesus than you've ever been.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Favorite of the Day: Bathtime!


You know what I'm talkin' about people. Little baby butts. Rubber duckies. Splishes. Splashes. There's nothing quite like it. 





There are three things Gemma loves to do in the bath.
1. Attempting to eat Mr. Duckie.





2. Attempting to eat her own foot.


3. Splishing. And Splashing.




Yes, bathtime with the little Gem is totally my favorite. We sing songs, splash around, get all bubbly and squeaky clean! Sometimes getting out of the bath isn't so fun... no one like the freezing cold air after a nice warm bath! But hey, we're not talkin' about after-bathtime, we're talking about the favorite of the day:
Bathtime!




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Two Inspiring Tidbits


Whenever I find great things in my travels through the world wide web, I try to share them with others. A friend of mine shared this with me, and I'm happy to pass it along!
It's an article from one of my favorite websites (I have the link on the side). Anyway, here it is:


The other thing I wanted to share is a song. I was listening to my favorite station on Pandora yesterday, and a new Regina Spektor song I had never heard came on. I have always been a fan of hers, and I am so impressed with her candor and courage in writing this song. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Lyrics:
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests

No one's laughing at God when it's gotten real late and their kid's not back from that party yet

No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake

No one's laughing at God when they see the one they love hand in hand with someone else and they hope that they're mistaken
No one laughs at God when the cops knock on their door and they say, "We've got some bad new, sir"
No one's laughing at God when there's a famine, fire or flood

But God can be funny

At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they're about to choke

God can be funny

When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious

Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital

No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they've lost all they got and they don't know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize that the last sight they'll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes

No one's laughing at God when they're saying their goodbyes

But God can be funny

At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they're about to choke

God can be funny

When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious


No one laughs at God in a hospital

No one laughs at God in a war

No one laughs at God in a hospital

No one laughs at God in a war

No one's laughing at God in a hospital

No one's laughing at God in a war

No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor


No one's laughing at God

No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
We're all laughing with God

Monday, January 17, 2011

Recipe for a 5 Month Old Baby Gemma

I live with an amazing little girl named Gemma Therese. 


She's five months old, smart, chubby, happy, and she is SO cool. I have hoards of people constantly crowding around me, asking me, "CA, how can I get a baby like that?" (This mostly only happens in my head, but still, even imaginary fans deserve answers!) So I say to them, read my blog, I'll post the recipe soon. It's so simple, anyone can do it! So. Here's the recipe:

 Start with one fresh-from-the-oven newborn baby born on August 13th, 2010. Name her Gemma Therese. Then, each day, for five months:
- Give plenty of mother's milk, straight from the source
- Shower with a near-constant stream of hugs and kisses
- Keep clean with regular diaper changes and baths
- Make time every day for song singing, story telling, belly tickling, face making, and other entertaining frivolities
- Introduce baby to and see that she has plenty of playtime with friends, especially with Jesus

Carry out these activities with great care and dedication, ensuring it is all done in an environment of endless love, happy laughter, excellent music, and that classic Californian "chill" factor. (I know, she lives in Ohio, but she's genetically 50% Californian. Roots are important, people.)


And there ya have it, folks. My secret Gemma recipe, now yours to enjoy :)






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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Black Bean Hummus

Ok, people. This hummus is to DIE FOR! I brought it over to a friend's house recently, and it was gone in 5 minutes. Now, I have made MANY a hummus in my day. The classic garbanzo bean varieties, other bean varieties, super spicy, super mild, etc. This recipe is a nice crowd-pleaser. I love the flavor of black beans, plus it's something different than what you see in the store.

I also really enjoy experimenting with hummus. Once I've got a good base to work with, I just start adding stuff, and coming up with new varieties! (This is why I'm a cook, not a baker. I cannot follow directions very well. I just use them as a loose guideline... which doesn't work very well with baking!)

Anyway, I really hope you enjoy this recipe, and then make it your own! Once you make a good hummus or two from scratch, you can say goodbye to the days of the store-bought stuff!


Ingredients:
1 16oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbs tahini
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
turmeric to taste
chili powder to taste
crushed black pepper to taste

Directions:
Combine beans, tahini, garlic, salt, and half of your olive oil in a food processor. Pulse about ten times to get it going. Add your spices, as much as you like, and pulse another ten times. Add the rest of your olive oil (and you may need extra, so have it handy), and run the processor until you have a smooth puree.
Chill and serve with pita, crackers, and/or fresh veggies.



Notes:
With hummus, the ingredients have lots of shimmy room. The tahini is a sesame seed puree. If you like a nutty flavor, go a little heavy-handed, if not, one tablespoon will due. If you don't have tahini, or don't like it, you can always make an alternative nut puree ahead of time. Pine nuts are my favorite alternative.
The salt is a necessary ingredient (trust me, I've made hummus without it, and it really suffered for it), but again, you can go a little light or heavy-handed depending on your preference.
I do recommend finely chopping your garlic beforehand, that way you don't get anybody biting into a huge chunk that didn't get processed well. Remember, those beans really crowd the blades.
I like a spicy hummus (well, spicy anything, really), so I add lots of turmeric, chili powder, and black pepper, but again, this is your dish. Play around with flavors! Add different spices and see what you like.
Annnnnd, the olive oil. Gotta be careful here. If you use too little, you have a very stiff hummus, and if you use too much, it's runny and the olive oil flavor is too strong. I'd say start with about a quarter cup and work your way up until you reach the consistency that satisfies you. If you find your hummus to still be stiff, add some water! If you used canned beans, reserved starch water from the can works best. If not, regular water works fine too! Again, start slow and add as needed.
Most people prefer a chilled hummus, so pop it in the fridge for about an hour before serving. Or don't. I think it tastes great at room temp as well!



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My Top Words of 2010

Something random I did on Facebook but didn't bother to post there. I honestly love this list, and the order it's in! Totally captures me :)

Here are top words from my Facebook status messages!
1:Love - used 16 times
2:Baby - used 14 times
3:Today - used 13 times
4:Happy - used 11 times
5:Day - used 8 times
6:Life - used 8 times
7:Gemma - used 8 times
8:Com - used 7 times
9:Blogspot - used 6 times
10:Time - used 6 times

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parents.

So the other day, I was browsing the comments below an article I had read about NFP. I can't even remember what the article was about but of course the comments went on and on as people both criticized and defended Natural Family Planning. In the midst of it all, one person who had been harshly criticizing NFP in previous comments, posted a joke which I'm sure was meant to be offensive to NFPers but which I took as the highest compliment.
"What do you call people who use NFP?"
"Parents."



I love it!! If that's an insult, then I want that guy to write a lot more jokes that I'm supposed to be the butt of! I love being a parent. No, it's not easy, but I'll tell you what - it's easier than I thought it'd be. And I'm so grateful to be where I am, to be who I am today. I can't tell you how many mothers I have heard say "I would never have chosen to get pregnant when I did, but I wouldn't change it for the world." 

When I got pregnant, the circumstances were anything but ideal. Initially, we were terrified. But we were also already so in love with our child. Our love for our baby was so much stronger than our many fears and doubts. During my pregnancy, I finished a year of teaching, my husband got a great job, we moved to a new city, made new friends... the list goes on. By the time I gave birth, just a week shy of our one year anniversary, our lives had completely changed in ways we could have never imagined. In ways we would have never chosen for ourselves. In ways which have brought me more joy than I could have planned for. 

I'll be perfectly honest. I would not have chosen to get pregnant when I did. If my husband and I were in charge, we would have waited until we thought we were emotionally and financially "stable enough." I would say that waiting for this ambiguous concept of "stability" is the number one reason why couples postpone pregnancy. Rocky and I could have made a list a mile long about our doubts, faults, concerns, sad bank account statements... countless reasons to not have a baby. But we trusted. We trusted God with our lives, with the most intimate part of our lives - our sexuality and fertility. And he gave us a baby. A beautiful, smart, loving, fantastic little baby. He also gave us a new community to live in. New friends to grow with. New opportunities to explore. As long as the list was of reasons not to have a baby was, the list of blessings we received from God through having a baby is so much longer. 
A common criticism NFP users often get is that we are procreating with reckless abandon, not caring if we've filed for bankruptcy and are living off of the government, and are already neglecting the children we currently have, etc. Now, I can't speak for every couple who practices NFP. I can only speak for myself and my husband. We were not in an ideal situation when we got pregnant, but not irresponsibly so. We were both healthy, happy, we were managing our bills, so on and so forth. And once I became pregnant, we had this whole new motivation to improve our lives, find better jobs, etc. I can honestly say, we are living a way higher quality of life now because we had a baby.



I would never support "reckless, irresponsible procreation" as the NFP critics like to say, nor would any person who truly understands what NFP is all about. It is always important to assess your current situation and whether or not pregnancy is an option at that time. This is why NFP is a month-to-month (or more accurately a cycle-to-cycle) process. Each month presents an opportunity for a couple to conceive a child. If the couple, with their powers of reason, the marital grace given them, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit conclude that is would not be in the best interest of their family to conceive that month, then they abstain from sex during the wife's fertile days. If they conclude conception is desired, then they can use the wife's fertile period to conceive a child. The absence of contraception is the couple's way of saying to each other "I love you fully, completely, and with holding nothing back for myself." And it's the couple's way of saying to God, "Lord, we are yours, we trust you, and we hold nothing back for ourselves."

There is no such thing as NFP "not working." Critics often use this argument as well. When they say NFP "doesn't work" what they mean is "NFP isn't contraceptive enough for us." They view NFP as the Church's only "legal" form of contraception, but they then see couples having babies, so they think, "well, it obviously doesn't work; it doesn't stop conception from happening." And this is where they are missing a huge piece of the puzzle. NFP is not contraception. It is a system meant to allow the couple to join God's plan for their family. To put God's plans and needs before their own. So even when a couple conceive a child during a month in which they had not planned it, no one loses. No matter how difficult the circumstances, no matter how dire the situation, the couple sees this new life as beautiful, and trusts the Lord's sovereignty in their lives. 

I read a great book while I was pregnant called Expecting a Miracle, by Jaymie Stuart Wolfe. In it, she addresses this concept, after discovering she was pregnant with her fourth child:

     All I could do was panic. My husband had lost his job three months before. The house we were living in was already too small. We already had three children in one bedroom, and our bedroom was being used as a temporary office for my husband's fledgling business. We didn't have the time, the space, or the money for yet another child. We didn't have medical insurance either. I couldn't escape the anxiety of wondering what in the world would happen to us. 
    What did actually happen was astonishing: nothing. Nothing much happened! ...We struggled, but we managed... While all my worst fears never materialized, something quite wonderful did. God added, and continued to add, more beautiful children to our family.
It wasn't until they had a total of six children before her husband returned to the security of a normal job and they were able to start paying off the hospital bills. She goes on to detail the many joys and beauties of each and every one of her children. Children whom she could not imagine life without, but whom she perhaps would not have chosen had she left her fertility up to herself.

Now, everyone's situations are different. And each couple, each family has its own set of difficulties. When you hear some of these stories, you think, of course! Of course you don't want to get pregnant right now, considering your circumstances. You hear these stories and you think, yes! Yes, it would be nearly impossible for me to practice NFP if I were in your situation. But God calls us to radical faith; to trust that nothing is impossible with Him. I've come to realize that if Rocky and I were to decide to use contraception to postpone pregnancy just because we have a list a mile long of reasons to wait, then we would not only be showing doubt in our own abilities, but also in God's abilities, and most importantly, His ability to work miracles in our lives.



NFP truly is not an easy road, but it's a beautiful road. I am grateful beyond measure for all the joy that Gemma has brought to my life, and I get so excited at the prospect of future children, if that is God's plan for my family. I will joyfully accept any and all children that the Lord blesses me and Rocky with. In my moments of fear, I remind myself that St. Catherine of Siena was the youngest of 25 children! 25!!!! It's nearly impossible for us to fathom that, but it's also difficult to imagine a world without her beautiful, holy influence. I thank God her parents didn't call it quits after number 24. And in my moments of extreme fear, I remind myself that before God gives me a child to parent, that child was first His, and He would not give me a child that I could not care for.

I don't know about you, but I love my baby girl
and I can't wait to meet any future babies God blesses me with!


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Monday, January 10, 2011

Chores with a Baby: Sorting Laundry

Okay Gemma...
I love you so much and I want to play with you too! But I have lots to do today, so here, play with some toys. ::Lays Gemma on back with various toys surrounding her. Walks to other side of the room to start sorting laundry.::


::Looks back over at Gemma. She has rolled over and somehow found an electrical cord to play with, ignoring all the soft, intricate, colorful toys specifically designed to stimulate the minds of infants.::
::Runs over and removes cord completely from Gemma's vicinity. Baby commences crying.::
Gemma... it's okay! That's not a toy though, that's not a baby Gemma toy. Here, play with this one!
::Pushes belly of a seahorse which then lights up and starts playing soft music. Gemma reaches for it and grabs on. Success. Back to the laundry sorting.::

::Gemma becomes bored almost instantly and begins fussing.::
::Picks baby up and sets on lap while continuing the sorting. Baby squirms out of lap. Lays baby back down on blanket to play. Continues the sorting. Moment of eery silence followed by ear-splitting scream of protest.::
Okay, okayyyy sweet-pea! I know you don't want to be set down, I'm sorry! ::Runs over and picks Gemma back up and rocks for a few minutes to calm down. Finishes sorting with one hand.:: 

::Takes baby into living room to nurse before even attempting to go to the laundry room. Writes blog post to chronicle the amazingly entertaining details of this weeks edition of Chores with a Baby.::



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Friday, January 7, 2011

Salsa Chicken with Spicy Beans & Lentils

I love this recipe because there are so many ways to mix it up! I swear, we have some variation of this meal once a week. My original version of this meal is the Salsa Chicken over a bed of rice, smothered in cheddar cheese. IIIII know! Delicious. However, it being the new year and all, I decided to cut back on the cheese a bit. I also substituted lentils for the rice, because lentils are supposed to be a symbol of prosperity in the new year, and it's traditional to cook/eat lots of lentils in the month of January!


This recipe serves two. So. Here goes:


Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
3/4 cup salsa (your favorite store-bought or even better, homemade!!)
2 tbs shredded cheddar cheese
1 avocado
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup lentils
2 cups water
1/2 cup beans (kidney, black, pinto, you decide)
3ish tbs coconut oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
A few shakes of chili powder or cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
salt & pepper to taste


Directions:
Start with the lentils right away. In a small pot, combine your water and lentils and bring to a rolling boil. Pop a lid on it, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. While that's a'boilin, dice up your onion and heat a cast iron skillet up on medium heat. Drop in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Once that's hot, toss in your onions and garlic, add a bit of S&P (salt and pepper) and saute them until just tender. Take them out of the skillet, and set aside. Turn your oven on and set to 350 degrees.

With your pan still hot, drop in about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Sprinkle one side of your chicken breasts with some S&P and place them into the pan seasoned side down once the oil is hot. Now season the other side with some S&P. (I also add a few dashes of chili powder at this point, but that's optional.) You'll want to let these sit for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until you get a nice golden color going on. Once they are golden on each side, put them into a lightly oiled baking pan, and transfer them into the oven to finish cooking all the way through, another 5-10 minutes depending on how thick they are.

At this point, your lentils should be ready. Drain any excess water. Add the sauteed garlic & onions from earlier, beans, 1/4 cup of salsa, and all your spices. Mix well. (It will smell AMAZING.) Put the lid back on, but keep the pot off the heat.

Slice up your avocado and shred up your cheese if it isn't already. When the chicken is cooked all the way through, take them out of the oven and turn it off. Then pour 1/2 cup of the salsa all over the top of them, and sprinkle the cheese on top of that. Pop them back into the warm oven for about a minute or so, just to melt the cheese.

And now we plate. Lay down a nice pile of the beans and lentils off to one side of the plate. Lay down your chicken on the other side of the plate, and top with avocado slices.


Sooooo good!
Notes:
The lentils. Check which kind you are getting. I use lentils that don't require pre-soaking, but many do! If those are the kind you have, you'll have to prep them ahead of time.

The skillet. You definitely don't need a cast iron one, I just like them. I think they cook food more evenly.

The chicken. If you can, fresh, local organic chicken is the way to go! If not, some nice fresh chicken from the butcher is good too. You can also use frozen chicken breasts, as long as they are completely thawed before you start this meal. You don't want them super cold either, that way they cook evenly all the way through.

The spices. You can really do what you want here. If you don't have turmeric, I would first suggest getting some. It. Is. So. Good. And so good for you! (Turmeric has been called one of nature’s most powerful healers. It has great anti-inflammatory properties which can address symptoms of arthritis. It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is said to be a digestive aid that will settle the stomach. Turmeric contains a rich source of antioxidants that help fight against free radicals. It also is said to have anti-platelet properties that help protect against strokes and heart attacks. Studies have also shown that it has a beneficial effect on the liver.) However, if you do not have it, just use some more cumin. As for the heat, I like my food super spicy, so I use a bunch of cayenne and chili powder. You know your palette best. Be modest at first, and just add what you like; know that you can always add more spice later.

The cheese. If you're lactose intolerant or cutting calories even more, just omit the cheese. With everything else going on in this dish, you really won't miss it.

The avocado. Make sure you pick up a nice, ripe avocado. The best way to test this is to hold the avocado in your hand and feel around the stem area with your thumb. If it's soft up there, it's good to go. (Not too soft though, otherwise it'll just turn into mush... which honestly will still taste amazing, just won't be as pretty).

So there you have it. This meal is nutritious, figure-friendly, and to-die-for delicious. Hope you enjoy it!


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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gemma's First Christmas

For Christmas this year, we were so blessed to have a safe trip to Syracuse, NY, to spend the holiday with my family (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the one and only, Nana). 
First of all, the Lord was having mercy on us, and blessed us with the miracle of a sleeping baby for almost the entire drive there AND back. Seriously, she was an angel. And he continued to shower us with gifts while we were in Syracuse. You hear it over and over again, but there really is nothing more special than great family memories. We made so many this Christmas.

We feasted like kings the entire time we were there. I think it was my sister that at some point on Christmas day said "I don't know what it is, but our food just tastes the best." Haha! I'm sure a lot of people feel this way about the home-cooked family foods they grew up on, but I could scream it from the rooftops! I mean, I have spent holidays with in-laws, and shared many a meal with many a family. Now, their food has been good, even some of it quite great, but I am telling you, "our" food (that being the holiday food I've grown up on) really and truly IS the best food ever.

We played games. Oh, the games. For those of you who may not know this about me or my family, games are pretty much the highlight of our lives. I'm not talking about just any old games either. I'm talking about the ULTIMATE games of sheer creative energy. Our all-time favorite game is Liebrary. And this year, Rocky and I made the daring move of introducing a new game! This can be very risky in our family, because you really only get one shot at it, and if it doesn't go over, it will never be played again! Haha. Anyway, the game was The Origin of Expressions and it was AWESOME! If you haven't heard of either of those games, and you're into creative, think games, check them out. You will seriously love them. (As far as boardgames go, I also love Sniglets, Balderdash, Scattergories, and of course, Scrabble).

Anyay, back to Christmas... we also received so many amazing gifts!! I was overwhelmed! Highlights include: tons of children's books to read to Gemma, including The Night Before Christmas read by my parents so Gemma can always hear their voices, an ice cream/yogurt maker!!, our very own Liebrary, and [drumroll please...................] ALL THE WEDDING PHOTOS!!! Yes, Rocky and I got married a year and a half ago, and yes, after LOTS of drama, we are just now getting our pictures, thanks to my rockstar Mom. It's a long story, for another time... I feel so loved and so grateful for everything we got this year (don't worry Mom, thank you cards are in progress).

Most of all, the greatest thing about our Christmas trip was just being surrounded by so much love. Love for and from my family, and my friends that I was able to spend time with, love for food and games and laughter, and above all, love for so great a Savior, who chose to come to us as a baby. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for loving us more than we will ever know. 

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip:

The generations shot :)

Happy baby in her Christmas dress after Mass!


Mmm... food...

Christmas morning - action shot

Baby's first Christmas!


All Christmas-ed out

Aunt Mae and a sleeping Gemma

Pie. Me, oh my, I love pie.



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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Delicious Homemade Peanut Butter

Wow. This is absolutely incredible! So cheap. So easy. So delicious.
Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:
4 cups unsalted dry roasted peanuts
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt
2-4 tsp honey
--have some extra oil on hand as well

Directions:
 Pour the peanuts and oil into your food processor. Start with a slow-speed blend and then work your way up to a liquefy/puree setting. Let it run until desired texture. Add extra oil as you need it, to yield a smoother texture. Lastly, add the salt and honey into the processor and give it a quick blend on a slow-speed setting (20-30 seconds should do it).
Transfer your peanut butter into an old container or other container with a tight lid. Should be refrigerated (due to the lack of preservatives) and will last about 2 weeks.




Notes:
You can buy the peanuts already roasted, or roast them yourselves. Be sure not to add any salt if you do roast them yourself.
Coconut oil is my preferred choice, but most oils will work - peanut oil, grapeseed oil, or a mild olive oil (NOT extra virgin- much too strong tasting) are good choices. If you do choose coconut oil, soften it up in the microwave first. Over time, and with many nut butters made in our house, we have found that if we want a smoother, more store-bought texture, we have to add more oil to the mixture. 
You may also use another type of sweetener if you desire. Agave nectar is another great option. Or, if you prefer, regular granulated sugar will do the trick as well.

Also, if you have a smaller food processor, like I do, you may only be able to fit 2 cups of peanuts in at a time. If so, simply half the recipe and repeat.



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Monday, January 3, 2011

Health Kick!


"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food."
-Hippocrates

I've been hearing about the benefits of a raw food diet and superfoods for quite awhile now. A few months ago, the hubby and I watched a documentary called Food Matters. It's a fantastic documentary if you're at all interested. I absolutely recommend it! We watched it again tonight, and I'm feeling super motivated.





Now, making a switch overnight to an all-natural, all organic, all raw, superfood rich diet is simply not going to happen. However, we are ready to start taking some small steps every week to add more good foods into our diet, and take the bad food out! 

This week, we added organic coconut oil and homemade peanut butter!! I could not believe how insanely cheap and easy it was to make and how INSANELY delicious it is.
I. Will. Never. Go. Back.

Anyway, I'll be adding a segment to my blog soon specifically for recipes and kitchen creations, so I'll be sure to include the homemade peanut butter into it. You can look forward to it, and in the meantime, go rent yourself a copy of Food Matters and enjoy!

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