Tuesday, June 24

Lions and Tigers and Bears ...


Sam is going to be 6 on Friday. I'm very upset with him, because I thought we had an understanding. I agreed to let him turn 5, and he agreed not to get any older. I think he's just being very disrespectful, and I do not, under any circumstances, approve of him getting older.

Next thing you know, Evie is going to be trying to turn 5!! (That would be the end of August. Apparently, she also doesn't listen to her mother.)

What's this world coming to? Seriously? I don't know how much longer I can take all of this.

Wednesday, June 18

Ah, the Life of a Homeschooler

Seriously, I spit out my coffee sorry, pregnant people don't drink coffee herbal tea when I saw this.

Seriously!!!!!! Come on, you other homeschoolin' mamas out there! You know it's true! Give me some love.

(Except in our case, we threaten bribe politely ask our kids not to talk about Star Wars or Transformers at church, only to have every. single. other. kid. bring it up. So I guess I don't feel quite so bad ...)

Wednesday, June 11

Works-for-me Wednesday

I'm pretty sure there aren't any guys out there reading my blog, but on the off chance that there are, I'm going to say this just once: TURN AWAY. NOW. This is a girls-only post. You don't want to read this if you aren't a female. (I almost said 'you don't want to read this if you don't have a va-jay-jay' but my mom would get upset at me for that. So I won't say that part.)

Ok, here's something that works for me. (And check out Rocks in my Dryer for more awesome tips!) After David was born, and he was about 6 weeks old, I started having a very hard time nursing him. I'd already nursed my other two, and other than an extremely fun bout of mastitis, I hadn't had any issues. All of a sudden, nursing HURT. And itched. I was very confused. So After about 6 days of crying each time I fed David (I actually cried each time. I'm not exaggerating.), I finally called Laurie, my awesome midwife. After listening to me for a whopping 7 seconds, she said, 'Well, Brea, you've got thrush. Make a 10-1 water/white vinegar solution, and rinse off a few times each day, and every time you shower.'

Thrush? What the heck is that? Turns out, it's basically a yeast infection. Babies can have it in their mouths, too. (David didn't.) I was sure I would never be able to fix it that easily, just using a very diluted vinegar solution. What with the searing pain and all. But hey, I'm game for just about anything once or twice, so I decided to give it a whirl.

Oh. My. Goodness. Oh me of little faith. Within one hour of using the rinse just twice, I could tell a massive difference. Now, it was slightly uncomfortable at first. But nothing compared to the thrush.

And here's the great part, because I know the majority of you are reading this thinking, 'But I don't have kids,' or 'I'm done with the nursing part of my life,' or something like that. BUT. Thrush is a yeast infection. We all know where else yeast infections happen, right??? Those nasty over-the-counter remedies from the store are ... well, nasty. Seriously. The next time you feel one coming on, mix yourself a water/vinegar solution. 10 parts water to max 1 part vinegar. You might want to start out even weaker than that. Use a peri bottle, or even just use a wash cloth. Trust me, this totally works!!!!

And I'm keeping it in mind this time when the baby comes. So I don't go through the torture again. (Oh, and if you ever have a baby with thrush in his or her mouth, there's an easy fix for that, too. All you do is run up to the store and buy some acidophilus, the powdered kind, in the little capsules. Break them open, put a little on your finger, and put it in the baby's mouth. Totally safe for the baby, and really funny to watch, too!)

Monday, June 9

250th post ... and a secret!!!

Good morning, blogosphere!!!! This is my 250th post!! I can't believe it!! I love blogging so much, and having ... you know ... like 4 people read what I write. One is my mom. I'm ok with that, because she's supa-cool!!

In other news, we'll be painting Evie's room this week before we leave for the convention. A very pretty yellow color, since I know you were super curious. Now you know.

Oh, what? Stop rambling and tell the secret? Well, I guess since I'm telling you, it's not so much a secret, as a surprise. Ok, here goes:

That would be a picture of a pregnancy test. See the faint vertical line in the first little window? That means the test is positive. Soooo ...


I'm due on Feb 10. John and I are really, really excited. Well, I'm really, really excited, and John is excited. He's a guy. It's not really 'real' to him yet. (It never gets 'real' to him until we're asleep, and my giant belly is resting against him, and the baby kicks so hard that he wakes up. That's when it's real.)

I love how well that man knows me. When I told him, his face lit up, and he gave me a huge, and we talked for a minute or two, and then he asked me, 'So, who else knows?' He's good. My answer? 'Well, only Kristie, because I needed help deciphering the test.' He said, 'So only one person besides me? And you've known for 4 hours? I'm impressed!'

In the past, John has been lucky if he's in the top five people to hear. :) I'm basically the worst secret-keeper in the history of the world. I'm good with others' secrets, I mean, just not my own.

So if you would be praying for me, and the baby, that we would both be healthy, and that this pregnancy would be easy and with mo problems that'd be wonderful. Yes, we're planning on doing another homebirth. :)

Have a lovely day!! My stomach is turning, so I'm going to lay down for a bit, before working in the garden this afternoon.

Sunday, June 8

Oat Pancakes

Also known as The Best Pancakes EVER. Please disregard my last recipe, I was young and silly and didn't know the error of my ways. I'm so sorry!! But seriously, we usually have these at least once a week. I always double the recipe and have a few left over, which we either have for snacks in the afternoon, or I freeze for a later morning.

Oat Pancakes
by Anita Cogburn

1 c oats
1 c whole-wheat flour, or white whole-wheat flour
2 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 c milk
1/4 c white vinegar*
1/4 c oil

Add vinegar to milk, and let sit for about 10 minutes (until it looks like buttermilk). Combine oats, flour, sugar, powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well, and set aside. Combine all the wet ingredients, and mix into the dry bowl until just combined. Do not over mix!! Pout batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form and just start to pop on the surface of the pancake. Cook until second side is golden brown.

*You're adding the vinegar to the milk to make buttermilk. If you happen to have buttermilk on hand, then just use 1 1/2 c buttermilk, and no vinegar.

I know!!! How simple is that!!!! Ok. So go forth and make these pancakes. In the morning. Pour hot syrup on them. Add pecans. Or sliced strawberries. Or those super cool mini chocolate chips. Your kids will love you, your husband will be so happy that he'll forget he married you and propose on the spot, and did you see all the ingredients? If you don't count all the syrup (which of course I don't), these pancakes aren't too bad for you!!!

You could quadruple this recipe, which I've totally done when I've got family in town, and make your family think you're the best cook ever, or you could quadruple the recipe for you and your normal family, freeze the leftovers, and have pancakes every morning for a week. Or, once a week for like a month, and not have to cook but once. I'm just saying.

(PS-tune in tomorrow for my 250th post, and a fun, super top-secret surprise!!!!)

Saturday, June 7

Stuffed Squash ... my favorite!!

Mmmm ... I get hungry just writing that title. This is probably my absolute all-time favorite summer meal. Make sure you buy as many of the ingredients from your local farmers' market as you can; it just doesn't taste as good if you have to go to the store for everything (unless you don't live within two hours of a farmers' market, in which case I suggest either moving, or planting a really great garden). And you can do anything with this recipe! Substitute to your heart's content!!

Stuffed Eight-Ball Squash
by Brea!

4-5 eight ball squash (a kind of zucchini, actually!)*
2 cups brown rice, cooked (measure out two uncooked cups, and use the whole amount in the recipe)
1 lb ground meat (I like to use venison, but beef or turkey would work great, too)
3 bell peppers: red, gold, and purple (or whatever colors you like), diced
1 large or two small red tomatoes, diced
1 yellow or orange tomato, diced
1 c finely diced carrots (optional)
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3-6 cloves garlic, diced
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Heat a really big stock pot 2/3 full of salted water. Either cut the top off the squash, or (I like to do this) without removing the top, cut the squash in half, from top to bottom. Remove all the seeds (this isn't like doing a pumpkin, you can just use a spoon), and throw them out or feed them to the chickens. When your water is boiling, place all the cut squash in the water for about 3-4 minutes, not enough to fully cook them, just enough to take a little of the crunch out. Remove, and set aside to drain and cool.

In a large frying pan, brown the meat, onion, carrots, garlic, and if you don't like crunchy peppers, the peppers. (Since I use venison, I have to add olive oil at this phase to make it brown correctly, but if you're using regular ground beef, you might want to brown the meat and veggies separately, then mix them together once you've drained the fat off the meat.) Turn off the heat, and add the peppers if you haven't already, tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and the rice, then add a few tablespoons or freshly grated Parmesan to make sure everything binds together. Mix it all really well (you might need to use a really big bowl if your pan isn't ginormus), then start filling your squash.

NOTE: Make sure your squash doesn't have any water in it!! If you have to use a paper towel to soak up the water, then do that, just trust me, you do not want water in your squash.

Add as much filling as you can to each squash**; don't be afraid to really pack it in there. Just don't break your squash. Place all the filled squash on a large baking sheet (if you cover it with foil first, clean up will be really easy, and you'll thank me later!), and add a sprinkle of Parmesan to the top of each squash, just for fun. And because it tastes awesome. Place the pan in the oven, and bake for about 10-15 minutes, just enough to let everything get all warm and yummy and good smelling and the squash to finish cooking.

Remove from the oven and serve pretty quickly, while it still looks pretty, and I recommend bowls and not plates, it just makes life easier. Enjoy!!!

*I guess you could use some really big regular squash or zucchini, but I've never tried it. Just make sure that they're really big, big enough that they'll hold plenty of filling once you scoop out the seeds and pulpy goo.

**Yes, you will have filling left over. Lots of it. So either invite a million people over for supper and make 12 servings instead of 5, or do what I do: put the extra in the fridge, and have it for lunch the next day. It's sooooo good reheated the second day.

ps- this recipe is insanely healthy, especially of you don't use ground beef, but don't tell anyone. It tastes almost sinfully delicious!!!!

Thursday, June 5

things, they are a-brewin'

That's right, they sure are!! But all is well at the Stewart casa, have no fear. But the next few weeks are going to be pure insanity for moi and the family. Honestly, I can't wait!!! We've got lots of stuff to do this weekend, and will be making at least two trips to Austin. I think John's cousin is driving down from Dallas, so I really hope I'll get to see her, at least for lunch or something.

Then the Republican State Convention is next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We'll be driving to my mom's Wednesday evening, and coming home either Saturday or Sunday. And next Sunday is Father's Day, in case that little fact had slipped your mind.

We purposely exposed the kids to the chicken pox about a week and a half ago (doesn't seem like they're getting sick, unfortunately!!), and we're under quarantine, but that'll be lifted just before we leave for Convention. So we'll actually be able to go to church on Father's Day!! If we come back home by then, that is. We're not exactly known as The Family Who Makes It On Time, if you know what I mean.

Then Florence and her husband, Christoph, are coming in the following weekend, and I'll be having not one, but TWO XanGo events at my house. I'm really excited!!! (Live in Austin metro? Email me and come out to my house!! Saturday, June 21, at 2 or 6. Mark your calenders!!) My friend Carin is having two events at her house that Sunday, so I think I'm going to drive up for one of those. I miss Carin, and I'm totally excited to get to see her!!

And many other things. I'm tired. But happy. Watched Elizabethtown last night, and I enjoyed it. Watching The Business of Being Born tonight, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it. I've heard so many people talking/blogging about it; I can't believe it's taken me this long to get it!

On that note, my children are making those annoying screeching noises that they're so inclined to make when it's past their eatin' time. Feed me, Mom, blah, blah, I'm so hungry, blah, blah, Can I eat chocolate for supper, blah, blah, blah ... :) I sure do love my angels!!! I'll put some pictures of David's new haircut tomorrow. He looks so flippin' CUTE!!!

(ps- If you know my dear, wonderful friend Sarah {and believe me, your life is a little more empty than you know if you don't know Sarah}, make sure you call her tomorrow and wish her a happy birthday. Cause she rocks. Even if she is thinking about leaving Texas. Which, frankly, reasonable people do not do. But let's be honest, no one has ever accused her {or me} of being reasonable. And she has a good reason. But I digress ... Sarah is going to be 25 tomorrow!!!! YAY!!!!!!)

Monday, June 2

Monday Meal Plan

So, in an attempt to keep my life a tad more organized, I'm going to try something new for a few Mondays. Please don't skip Feel free to skip the next few Mondays, or read over my lists and get some inspirations. If you want any recipes, just ask me and I'll try to post them. (Also, I'll be posting my amazing Stuffed Squash recipe later this afternoon!)

Monday, June 2
red beans and rice with cornbread

Tuesday, June 3
chicken-fried steak, squash fritters, and fruit salad

Wednesday, June 4
chicken tacos with corn and salad

Thursday, June 5
leftovers/clean out the fridge

Friday, June 6
oven brisket (mmmmm ...) with mashed potatoes and salad

Saturday, June 7
swiss chard over penne pasta

Sunday, June 8
chopped beef sandwiches and fresh green (and purple- and black-hulled) beans

What are you eatin' this week? What's your favorite meal? Give me some ideas!! :)

Sunday, June 1


Is anyone else having issues with StatCounter? I'm starting to get more than a little frustrated over here ...

Help me, please!!!!!!