Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sick Weeks

Our house should be quarantined. First it was a nasty cold about a two months ago. It seemed to last forever. Then I started having really bad pain in my jaw and ear. Next, Trent caught the flu. Luckily the kids and I had our flu shots, so I am hopeful we will skip that particular type of torture.

While most of it has now passed, that pain in my jaw and ear has now spread halfway up my face and into my throat. My dr. has no idea what is going on.

So while I would love to tell you about our trip to the snow that ended up with our van getting stuck,

or perhaps about Gabriel's third birthday party and all the really great things we made for it,

 instead I must prepare myself mentally for a visit with an ear, nose, and throat specialist and a dentist all in the same day,

and promptly take a nap.

I promise to regale you with stories of our snow adventure, and all of the great DIY projects and finds for Gabe's birthday. But for now, after fighting with whatever is going on with me for the last two months, I am just toast. Wish me luck tomorrow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Getting Stuff Close

If only that title said "Getting Stuff Done", but sadly the cold circulating around has really hit our house hard. Poor Abby cannot breath, leaving her unable to use her bink. No binki = no bueno in our house. Add to that the molars coming in, and she is a sad mess.

Gabe seems to finally be on the mend, but his cough kicks in at night. The adults in the house are trucking along, although there are times when Trent's face looks like it might melt off.

I think Nicholas is the only one able to avoid this bug. Lucky jerk.

Despite feeling crummy, we are doing our best to get prep work done for a special event. Gabe's 3rd Birthday party! It is so surreal to me that our funny, stubborn, and smart little man is turning 3. I am so happy we will be able to celebrate in a fun, exciting, and fitting way.

For today I am done with the prep. Now I am off to eat oranges, while drinking orange juice, followed by a chaser of NyQuil and tea.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Eggnog Quick Bread

It seems every January I find myself staring at a half empty carton of eggnog. We buy it throughout the holiday season, but after Christmas it just sits there. Sad. Ignored. Forgotten.

Inevitably I end up pouring it down the drain, hurting it's pride. Not this year. Thus my hunt for, and modification of, a great quick bread recipe.

Now this is a bread in the way a cake could be called a bread if it was baked in a bread pan. It is sweet, made my house smell divine, and went wonderfully with a cup of coffee.

Eggnog Quick Bread adapted from Allrecipes

2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups eggnog
2 teaspoons of rum
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (be generous)
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Begin by creaming sugar, applesauce, and butter.

The mixture will look a little different because of the applesauce, but this is ok.

Next, lightly beat 2 eggs.

Add eggs, eggnog, and vanilla to the butter/applesauce/sugar mix.

Now, here comes the part where you have a choice. The original recipe called for rum extract. At my local grocery store rum extract was $6 for a small bottle. Paying that much for a few tablespoons kinda defeated the purpose of this bread (a quick way to use up what I have). I chose to instead use some rum I had on hand.

Don't be scared. The alcohol cooks out during the baking process. But if you are super worried you can always fork over the cash for the "extract". Your call.

Add the rum to the wet mix and stir. Then sift together your flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

Slowly incorporate your dry mix into your wet mix, until just moistened.

Pour that delicious smelling concoction into a lightly greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mine took 65 minutes, and then this was what I had:

Yum! Allow to cool for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

Once cool, slice up and enjoy with a fresh brewed cup of coffee in a monkey mug. Oh, you don't have a monkey mug? So sad. This eggnog quick bread will be delicious regardless.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back and Forth : How the New Year Feels

2012 was a weird year for me. The two years prior I had brought new little people into our family. There had been huge house projects and big changes. In comparison 2012 held a lot of half finished things.

The backyard makeover that started with such promise has been left incomplete. The deck, sod, fire pit, and numerous other pieces laying half done.

The feeling of  half-done extends in to the house with little projects everywhere looking sad and abandoned.

Part of it has just been time. Hubs worked two jobs for the majority of the year and I went back to school (so grateful!), however that doesn't temper the sting of feeling lacking.

Perhaps it was a good thing this year was slow. A blessing to refocus our priorities. But it is hard for me to look around and not tally up all we have to tackle this year in addition to our plans for 2013.

2013 is going to be an adjustment. Hubs and I will both be going to school, in addition to him working full time. Abigail is getting bigger, and it is hard to believe but our little Gabe is turning 3 this month!!

We have big plans for the homestead this year. A main bath remodel, moving a wall and building a custom wardrobe in the master bedroom, new counter tops in the kitchen, and new storage system in the kids closet. All this in addition to finishing up the projects from last year.

I think my big goal for 2013 is two fold: be realistic and knowledgeable about the time you have. Having plans for big projects is great, it keeps you driven. But having unrealistic expectations about the time available for these things will only create disappointment. My family needs time first, the house will have to wait. And my feelings of failure over projects needs to shift to joy at the abilities and joy my children display every day.

Happy New Year!