Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cloth Diapers - a good move

By the time I was pregnant with my third child, I could anticipate how overwhelmed I was going to feel once I had three to care for, especially at first. I felt drawn to make my own baby food for her when she grew a little older, but I decided not to stress out about trying cloth diapers. I hadn't used them for either of my other two and I figured, why introduce something so difficult into our lives now.

A year went by and my youngest ate up all the baby food I could make. Somehow, at the end of that year, I was feeling less overwhelmed and more entranced by the idea of using cloth diapers. Was it too late? Anna was already one. But realistically, she would be in diapers for another year or more, so perhaps it was still a good move.

The cost-effectiveness was still there. Even though I had lost the money spent on disposables so far, it would still cost more to diaper her with them for the remainder of her diapering days than it would to use cloth. And I love the idea of cloth - reusable, not-disposable, not going in a landfill, and something to pass on to another once we're done with them.

My sister Lacie had already been using cloth for her little girl and I gladly picked her brain. She introduced me to bumGenius and bumGenius Flip diapers, both of which I have been very happy with, as has my daughter. I have been surprised by how simple it was to switch over, and how satisfied I feel now that we do. It does mean a bit more work, but that work is minimal and pretty easy to incorporate into our days.

All in all, let me recommend cloth diapering to any of you out there that aren't sure. For me, the pros outweigh the cons and I feel glad to be diapering my daughter in cloth, even if it's just for the end of these diapering days.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A lovely moment

Though it can be difficult to slow down, I'm always glad when we do. We spent a refreshing weekend on the Oregon coast and I'm loving the random pics and treasured memories that we've brought home.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chocolate Pie topped with Meringue

This recipe for chocolatey-goodness was adapted from myrecipes.com ("Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie"). My first and second attempts at it were delicious, though I was not completely satisfied with the meringue (and new endeavor for me which still needs some perfecting).

Chocolate Pie topped with Meringue

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 prebaked pie crust
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup + 3/8 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons white flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Make and bake your piecrust, and set aside to cool. Seperate the 2 egg yolks from the egg whites and set each aside for 30 minutes.

To make the meringue: once you've started making the meringue, don't stop beating until it is finished. Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar at high speed until foamy, using an electric mixer. Gradually add 3/8 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks for and the sugar is dissolved (you can check this by rubbing a bit of meringue between your fingers - still gritty? Keep beating...) Set the meringue aside.

To make the chocolate filling: whisk the remaining 1 cup sugar, cocoa, flour and salt in a small bowl. In seperate bowl, whisk egg yolks and milk. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the sugar mixture gradually to melted butter, whisking until blended. Add milk mixture gradually and cook, whisking constantly until thick and bubbly.

Remove from heat, add chocolate chips and vanilla, and stir until melted. Add pecans if you're including them, stir. Pour into piecrust.

Spread meringue over hot filling right away (the meringue will start to cook from the heat of the filling, which is good.) Try to spoon it on in large dollops, connecting them gently with a spoon. Make sure to seal the edge of the meringue to the piecrust to help keep it from shrinking later.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or till golden. Cool completely.

Meringues do weep, which is the problem I've had with this one. It has not been much, though, and it certainly did not effect the taste. I tried cooling my second pie on the counter instead of in the fridge, but it still beaded up a bit on top.

This pie can be stored happily in the refrigerator, but be warned - meringues are certainly best on the day they are first made.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Frozen Blueberry Muffins

A wholesome and delicious recipe - one of my kids' favorites.

Frozen Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Taste of Home magazine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar + 2 teaspoon sugar for topping muffins
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

1. Cream the butter and 2 cups sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and mix well. In a seperate bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Stir in dry mixture into wet mixture. Fold in blueberries.
2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Sprinkle remaining 2 tsp sugar over muffins.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or till muffins test done with a toothpick. Cool in pan before removing.

Yields about 30-40 muffins, depending on how full your cups are.

Doesn't this sound good with strawberry chunks instead of blueberries? Have fun experimenting!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Natural Facial Scrub

I have been using this recipe as an excellent facial scrub in the shower. Combine a small amount with water and your favorite facial cleanser; rub over your face for an exfoliant that will leave your skin feeling wondrously smooth.

Favorite Cleansing Grains
from: Natural Beauty at Home, by Janice Cox

Mix together the following and store in an air-tight container at room temperature until ready to use:

2 tablespoons oatmeal (I used 5-minute oats, aka quick oats, which are oats broken into smaller pieces)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons wheat germ

Natural and Effective!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yellow Split Pea Soup

I found this recipe on one of my favorite websites: Allrecipes.com. I love this site because it allows me to read reviews (sometimes hundreds of them on the same recipe!) and get a feel for whether it is something my family will enjoy or not. Also, many reviewers leave their own suggestions on how to make it just a little bit better. This Split Pea Soup recipe is perfect for a chilly spring day, or a rainy one like we so often have here in the Pacific Northwest. Try it, and maybe even change it up a little to suit your family's taste.
Yellow Split Pea Soup
by Downsey
Prep Time:
20 Min
Cook Time:
1 Hr 15 Min
Ready In:
1 Hr 35 Min


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used about 3 teaspoons of minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace (I left this out)
  • 2 1/2 cups dried yellow split peas (green works great too!)
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 8 frankfurters, sliced (or polish sasuage)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook to soften, but not brown, about 7 minutes.
  2. Mix in the mace and split peas. Stir in the stock; cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until the peas are soft.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in frankfurters, and heat through.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Imagining Ourselves Strong

This is from The Women's Book of Courage, by Sue Patton Thoele:

We all face situations in which we feel powerless and afraid. I once had a client who was terrified of an upcoming child custody hearing. She felt intimidated by the legal system, her lawyer, and especially her ex-husband. I asked her what it would take for her to feel safe and strong in the court room.

"Nothing short of riding in on a brahman bull!" she answered jokingly. It was a great idea, straight out of her inner wisdom.

I had her work with the image. She had fun creating a scenario of herself galloping into the court on a huge, snorting bull that threatened to gore anyone who tried to frighten her. Her day in court was a success because each time she felt the least bit scared she visualized herself astride the bull. With the help of her amusing but effective mental imagery she felt strong and capable. As a result, she was treated as if sher were powerful, someone not to be dismissed or manipulated.

As the story illustrates, we are all as strong as we imagine ourselves to be. When we act as if we are strong, we move towards becoming the powerful women we desire to be. Having the courage to see ourselves as strong, capable, and wise, able to do what we need and want helps make it so. But we need not do it alone. We can move creatively through our fears by accepting support and guidance from an unseen helper, whether that is a higher power or a brahman bull.

I am strong and capable.

I can do whatever I set my mind to.

I am filled with strength and confidence.