Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bread Maker, Bread Maker…Make me some bread!

I am HORRIBLE at making bread. Most of my experience has been in a bread maker...and it hasn’t always turned out so good.

Well, our awesome neighbors brought over some jelly/jam and I knew that we couldn't eat it on regular store-bought bread. Enter Katie the Homemaker. I know, go ahead…laugh!

Anyway, I wanted something fast and easy. I REALLY wanted wheat bread, but was afraid that our wheat flour wasn't good anymore...so white it was. Yum and OH SO GOOD with the jelly!

Here is the recipe with my changes/remarks in red:

White Bread Recipe #1


1 package yeast (1/2 tsp. of yeast per cup of flour)

1/4 cup warm water

2 tsp sugar

1 cup milk

3 tsp salt

3 tbsp butter

3 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Egg Wash

1 slightly beaten egg white

1 tbsp warm water

Method for Preparing Your White Bread Recipe:

1.)Mix the yeast and ¼ cup of warm water in a small bowl or cup. Add the sugar, then stir. Set aside and allow mixture to become frothy. (*I usually mix and put in my microwave)

2.)Place milk, salt and butter in saucepan and heat until the butter melts. Allow to cool until it is lukewarm. (*or you could be like me and just add it to the mixture below right after it is done melting. OOPS! :)

3.)Place two cups of flour in a large bowl, and add milk mixture.

4.)Beat well, then add the yeast mixture.

5.)Beat again until the dough is smooth. Add an additional cup of flour while beating. Dough should be firm.

6.)Turn the dough onto a floured kneading surface. Knead, adding flour, until dough is smooth and elastic. To test readiness, poke an indentation with your fingers. If ready, the dough will spring back, filling in the indent. ***I think part of the reason my bread usually fails, besides the bread maker issue, is because I don't knead it enough. I let it stay in my KitchenAide for a while mixing away..then I took it out and I just kneaded and kneaded for about 5 minutes.

Butter a large bowl OR just put some olive oil on top of the bread. Put dough in bowl, turning so as to grease the surface of the dough. Cover, and rise in a warm place until dough is doubled in bulk. This should be approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Spray the bread pans OR Butter one large loaf pan or two small pans. Punch the risen dough down, and turn onto lightly floured kneading surface.

Form into one large or two small balls. Shape each ball into a rectangle roughly the size of the bread pan you will be using, punching out any air bubbles that you see. Shape the oval into a loaf shape, and tuck the edges underneath.

Place the loaf-shaped dough into the bread pans. Cover, and rise until double in bulk. This takes about 45 minutes.

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Prepare your egg wash by beating egg white with water, slightly. Brush the egg wash over top of the dough. I didn’t have any eggs, so I just put some EVOO on top.

Bake in center of oven for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and take for an additional 20 or 25 minutes.

The white bread recipe is ready when it sounds hollow when removed from pan and tapped on bottom with your fingers.

Cool your white bread recipe on a rack before storing.


Sometimes this can be a taboo discussion. A four letter word in some families. You can ask one family how they discipline. You can ask the next family. And they won't be the same. Or they are both struggling with 'their' way. Man, is this normal!

There are SO many different ways to 'discipline' your children. And what makes it even MORE confusing? Each child is different, so if you have found one really great way to discipline child #1, #2 isn't having it.

1.) Recognize that there are SEVERAL ways to discipline. (see below)
2.) Each child is different.
3.) Each PARENT is different....GET ON THE SAME PAGE. Nothing is more confusing to a child than doing one thing and getting away with it and doing the same thing again..and NOT getting away with it.
4.) If you child is old enough, have them make their OWN consequences. This gives them a chance to make some decisions.
5.) You are the example.

Here are some ideas:
-Act upset. If you child does something that you don't approve up. Tell them. Be firm, but not irrational. Make sure that it is something they shouldn't be doing.
-Talk it out. This one is a biggy with my oldest. She is very rational in her thinking, so if I tell her WHY she shouldn't be doing something, she is pretty good and 'getting it'.
-Ignore, Ignore, Ignore. I have a really difficult time doing this. My boys are very hands on..everything and in return most of my things would be broken! BUT, if it is something small...let it go.
-Take away. This is in regards to toys and objects. If a child(ren) is hitting someone with a toy...you TAKE.IT.AWAY. Obviously, it is the source of the problem, so get rid of it. Be sure to replace it with something else, otherwise you aren't making the situation better, but worse.
-Time-outs. This one is a difficult one, so I have taken directly from an article I read:
(Also Known As “Thinking Time”)
Separation and replacement involves separating a child from an object. Time-outs are also a form of separation-separation from a situation. Time-outs (or thinking time) differs a bit depending upon the age and development of the child. The time-outs I'm describing here apply to school-age kids.

Time-outs separate a child from a situation in order to “break” the action and reset it on a new track. Time-outs take the child out of an environment that is reinforcing the negative behavior. For school age kids, time-outs shouldn't always be timed, they should allow the child enough time to change his mood on his own.

Don't threaten time-outs, and don't think of them as punishments (“Hit me again and I'll put you in a time-out!”). They're meant to be used as an immediate, brief cooling-off period.
Time-outs are most effective when a child needs help changing a mood.
A time-out is over once the mood has been changed or the child has calmed down and regained self-control. Let the child determine when a time-out is over-she needs to learn to determine her own moods and rhythms.
Time-outs are designed to remove a child from an environment where she is getting gratification for her negative actions. When she returns, don't let her resume her activity. Let her know that her actions were unacceptable. Move her into a more positive situation, and give her positive reinforcement. “The colors you're using on your self-portrait sure make me think of autumn!”
Parents can take time-outs, too. (I do!)

Read more on FamilyEducation: http://life.familyeducation.com/parenting/punishment/45302.html#ixzz1WXjohaAI

And last, but not least....my husband and I are not opposed to spanking. {Gasp} I know, I know. That is so horrible, mean, blah, blah, blah. There is a very distinct difference between spanking/swatting on the bottom and beating. (one way to know? If you, as the parent/guardian, are out of control).

All in all, like I said above. This is a very personal thing. Speak with your spouse and get on the same page.

How do you discipline?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting ready for school III

The morning.

I have found that the morning can be a bit crazy. That's with 1 daughter that gets herself ready. Yeah, she's that good!

But, now that I am going to have 2 that get on the bus at the same time, I have had to be a bit better about getting things ready the night before.

All clothes laid out.
Bath time.
Breakfast. (either have the bowls and spoons laid out or have the pancake/waffles mixed up and ready to be made). Also, I have thought about making some egg mcmuffins and then freeze and having them ready to pop in the microwave. Remember that if you are making pancakes/waffles it'll take a good 5-7 minutes for the griddle to get good and hot. Something that I didn't take in to account this morning....

Because the clothes are laid out the night before, I am able to think ahead to what I'll do with my daughter's hair.

The BIGGEST thing is to be prepared and to have things ready before you go to bed.

What are some things that you have to do the night before, so the morning runs smoothly?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Are you a mom that has wee little ones in diapers? Love spending loads of moolah? yeah, I bet not!

So, when Stevie posted about Amazon Mom and Subscribe & Save programs, I had to check it out. This is a legitimate offer people!

Save money on diapers through Amazon Mom. THEN, if you decide that you want this on a recurring basis, you save even more! It is crazy easy and shipping is free!

Here's the breakdown:
Buy a pack of diapers ex. Size 5 with 120 diapers for $32.33.
If you decide to do the Subscribe & Save: It drops to $22.63

Check it out for yourself! Amazon Mom

Getting Ready for school Part II

Part II: Establishing a routine...NOW!

Ahh, the lackadaisical days of summer are gone. Gone are the late nights and late mornings. Gone are the free days to do whatever you want. Gone, GONE I tell you!

But in all honesty, I'm sort of glad. I know that my children do better on a set schedule. They crave it and so do I.

Starting about a week before school, start going to bed earlier. Start the routine back up. We have started getting the kids ready for bed earlier, BUT have failed to make them wake up earlier. That is a big mom oopsie! I love my sleep, what can I say?

I will try and be better though. It is so important to those kiddos. They need as much sleep as they can get!

Also, before school starts, do a trial run. My 2nd grader (what?!) is pretty good about waking up on her own, getting her breakfast, getting dressed and making her lunch. She is a gem. BUT this year, my Kindergartener (what?!?!?!) is starting new. And let's be honest...not many little boys are wanting to do all of this by themselves.

Luckily for me, he only goes for 1/2 a day=no lunch prep. Unlucky for me, they get on the bus AT 7:15 a.m. Totally crazy.

So, here is a question (or two):
1.) What do you do to get ready for school?
2.) How early do you get up to get your kids ready for school?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting Ready for School

Part 1: Healthy Lunches
With all of the hustle and bustle in the morning, it's easier to give #1 money for the school lunch. In retrospect, it is just as sign that I am lazy.
Sometimes the school lunches are healthier than what we make for our kids: fruit snacks, sugary drinks, chips, etc. It's the nature of the beast...
BUT, we can do small things to make them easier and healthier.
First, stock your cupboards and fridge with healthy snacks (easier said than done sometimes).
1.)Cut up vegetables on Saturday or Sunday night. Put them in a big container that is easy to grab a bag and fill.
2.) Pop popcorn (not the buttery kind). Great snack.
3.) Water bottle instead of sugary drinks.
Here are some good ideas:
-Baked Chips (in moderation)
-Homemade granola (super easy and you know what is in it)
-Organic Applesauce
Sometimes I have a hard time when it comes to the main part of the lunch. PB&J? Meat? Bagel & Cream Cheese?
Well, let's just say that I'm working on it. Sometimes I put crackers with ham and cheese in for her to make her own.
What do you do?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Part 3: PPE, PPB and PPD

The nurse started me on Zoloft soon after #3 was born. She had wanted me to take it a few weeks prior to delivery, to get it in my system, but the doctor wasn’t on the same page (needless to say, I call and talk to HER directly now)
Here were are: 2011. I am still on the medicine. I have gone between 75mg and 100 mg (bad days) to where I am now at 50mg.

I started a “way of life,” aka diet, in mid-March and by April I was feeling pretty good. I started to wean myself and that was a HUGE no-no. I called the nurse and she said where my body was still getting used to the food in-take and supplements, that I shouldn’t try and get off completely. It could do more harm than good.

Some advice she did throw my way: you can alter your dose. I could go from 50mg to 25mg when I was feeling good and back up if I wasn’t. I was a little weary, but she said that is a good way to know if and when my body was ready to completely wean from it. I won’t lie, I’m a bit nervous that I won’t be able to get off of it 100%.It’s a constant thought every night that I take it. BUT I know, that there is a very HIGH probability that, without it, there could have been some major problems.

All-in-all? Depression is a very real thing. You can’t will yourself to get better. There are other treatments besides medication. I strongly recommend prayer. It got me through the majority of the days and nights, BUT Heavenly Father has also placed modern medicine on the earth so that we can use it. Don’t be embarrassed.

Here are some symptoms:
Low self-esteem
A feeling of being overwhelmed
Sleep and eating disturbances
Inability to be comforted
Social withdrawal
Low or no energy
Becoming easily frustrated
Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby
Impaired speech and writing
Spells of anger towards others
Increased anxiety or panic attacks
Decreased sex drive

**Obviously TALK to your dr. before you change your dose. I am NOT a dr.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 Years!

The depression part 3 will be back tomorrow...it's MY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY today !

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Part 2: PPE, PPB and PPD

After having #2, we spent a few more weeks in Idaho and then spent 3 days traveling to our new home, Missouri. Why they didn't name it Misery, I don't know, but that is how I felt. Our apartment was a hole. It was dirty and wet and moldy and broken and full of spider and mice and cockroaches. It was bad. We had gotten it, sight unseen and that proved to be one of the worst mistakes we’ve EVER made.

I can remember getting up to nurse and the only light on was a nightlight. I could see shadows running across our floor. That was it. I put #1 on a toddler bed in my room (she was sleeping on the other side of the apartment)and the 4 of us tried to get some sleep.

We quickly moved out after 2 weeks and moved to the other side of Kansas City to the Kansas side. It. was. glorious! I remember going to my 6 week appointment (new dr.) and tried to explain that I wasn't feeling normal. She chalked it up to moving, baby, etc. She said to get out into the community and get some sleep. I knew i should have pushed it a bit, BUT things were looking up. I wasn't really sad anymore. Life was on the up and up and I really starting to do well.

Fast forward to almost a year later. I started the weaning process. Whoever didn't tell me that depression could occur AFTER weaning is a big fat jerk!

The cycle began again, but this time it was much more severe and much more hopeless. I would stay up after Luke went to bed, crying and anguishing over small silly things. I couldn't fall asleep and my anxiety was THROUGH THE ROOF! I was exhausted all the time and didn't feel like I was doing my part as a mother OR wife. I was having some really weird thoughts, not suicidal, but very dark. I knew they weren't coming from Heavenly Father and the only solution I had was to plead with Him night and day. It was a constant battle that never fully went away.

I went back for my yearly in 2007. And guess what? Same response. “It's normal. Get out and do something about it.”

I was angry. I KNEW myself and I KNEW that this wasn't normal. I didn't have much option for doctors because we would be moving fairly quickly to another state.

Fast forward. We moved to Ohio and things seemed to be going really well. Nothing to complain about here. The kids were growing like weeds and we were all happy.
I got pregnant with #3 in August 2008. From the very beginning I told my dr. and his nurse that I had had problems before with depression-like symptoms, but that the last dr. had done nothing about it.

My nurse was amazing. She took it very seriously and knew how terrible PPD could be. She had experienced the exact same thing and it was a REAL problem with many solutions. It's not something to shy away from and it is not something to be ashamed of.

After talking about my struggles, we did a mini timeline of events. We realized that most of my depression problems were AFTER I STARTED WEANING! She explained how after weaning, your body is almost in MORE trouble because of the loss of hormones. What a vicious cycle our body is dealing us!

She handed me an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. This isn't a fool-proof way to know if you have depression, but it is pretty thorough. AND it is a great conversation starter with your doctors.

I’m don’t remember my score perfectly, but I knew it was pretty bad.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Part 1: PPE, PPB, PPD

Part 1:
The title seems to sound like something you'd eat, like PB&J, but obviously it's not. Many of you have guessed that it is, in fact, postpartum exhaustion/blues/depression.

Each one of those is a separate issue. They are NOT the same.

I remember after delivering #2. My mom had left after 5 days and I was so sad and cried. I took a walk and when I came back home, I still felt deflated, sad and really down. Luke was a little beside himself and kept mentioning depression.

I was irate. I couldn't believe that he would jump to that conclusion. Just because my mom had left, we had graduated from college and were moving across the country didn't mean that I was suffering from depression. I remember looking up the definition of PPB (postpartum blues) and PPD (postpartum depression). CLEARLY there was a difference and I wasn't depressed.

From what I had read, depression didn't really manifest itself until a few weeks after delivery. It had only been 5 days.

Looking back, I should have seen that as a sign. No, they aren't the same and no depression is not always the by-product of PPB, BUT I should've been willing to look past that and at least mentioned it to my doctor.

After doing a bit of research, I found that almost 80% of women suffer from some form of moodiness and mild blues. I totally get that! Your body has just been through a HUGE event, sometimes tramatic, and your hormones are completely out of whack!


It is normal that you are tired and irritable. It is normal if you start to cry or have sleeplessness. It's normal that you can't concentrate like you used to or that you feel like you are all alone. Headaches? Normal. I promise. You aren't crazy and you aren't going to go off the deep end. You are tired. Get some sleep...

On the other hand, PPD is much more serious.* The feelings of hopelessness and despair. The anxiety and sadness. The late nights staying up and crying. That is when you need to pick up the phone and get some help.

Part 2 to come...

*I'm not going to go into postnatal psychosis because I don't have any experience with that.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Homemade Samoas Cookies {MMM Girl Scout Cookie Goodness}

Homemade Samoas Cookies
shared from the kitchen of
Read Before Making:  These cookies do take some time and there are many steps to it.  However, you will not be dissappointed.  They are well worth the work.
Cookies ~ Homemade Samoas
(also known as Caramel de-Lites)
Makes about 4 to 4 1/2 dozen

Let the 4 step process begin:
1. Make the cookie Base
2. Top with Caramel-Coconut mixture
3. Dip bottom of cookies in melted chocolate
4. Drizzle tops with melted chocolate

The Cookie (base):
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
up to 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350F.
Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, next, the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk only as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (you may not need any at all). The dough should come together into a soft, pliable ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough seems sticky.

It's easiest to roll the dough out in 2 or 3 batches (between pieces of wax (or parchment) paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or a little thinner) using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined (or on silicone mat) baking sheet and make a hole in the center. I used one of those big plastic straws.  You know the ones that your kids blow into and they drive you crazy with that whistling sound.  However, this part is really not necessary.  Next time I don't think I will do it.  They will give you the Girl Scout look, but the flavor is still the same. Repeat until the dough is used up (it's okay to re-roll, this dough is shortbread-like and very forgiving.)

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are very lightly golden brown around the edges. All ovens are different so I actually did mine for 9 mins. and they came out perfect.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, to allow them to firm up slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-ounces good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
8 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips will do, however, I found that when I made them with the chocolate chips they melt in your hands even after setting up.)
(If you prefer milk chocolate use it.  I used semi-sweet and JBody wishes I would have gone with Milk.  He is a huge milk chocolate guy though.)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees (F)

Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Watch carefully, especially near the end of toasting time; the coconut toasts very quickly once it begins to become golden.

My Notes:  20 minutes was too long.  The coconut was already golden at 10 and I had to take it out.

Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 teaspoons per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it begins to firm up, to make it soft and spreadable once again.

While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching.  Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper (I dipped them and then had them set up upside down before drizzling). Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Let me just tell you that you have to try these.  And once you make them hide them from yourself.  Trust me they are addicting.  I have plans to make them again.  I have a cute cookie container idea I found on pinterest.  We are going to give them away as Christmas Presents.  Let me know if you make them and what you think of them.

Recipe credit: Nicole @ Baking Bites.com