Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

my neighbor showed me this recipe and I love it! Just in time for Thanksgiving!

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup water

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 tsp. salt

mix dry ingredients. add other ingredients and mix well. Add nuts if desired. Pour into well greased 9x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Or use mini loaf pans or muffin pans work well too. Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Busy Week!

This week has been extremely busy! I have a feeling life is not slowing down for quiet a while. I am going to attempt to catch up on here as fast as possible:

8) Eliza had her 6-month check up this week! She is 14.4 pounds and 25 inches long!

8) Eliza is sitting up and crawling slowly on her own!! Big changes are on the way!

8) Lulu still loves being a big sister. When Eliza wakes up in the bassinet Lulu says, "Uh oh! Uh oh! Zizzy NOT happy!!!" She then runs to the bed room, climbs up next to the bassinet and pats Eliza on the back until I pick her up. She also loves to give her big enthusiastic hugs and occasionally she tries to pick her up. (I try to discourage that last one).

8) After watching Lulu for a day my MIL asked, "How does she move so fast? One minute she is running the water full blast in the bathroom and the next she has pushed a chair all the way into the kitchen, found a butter knife, and is attempting to carve a piece of the rice crispy treats!" It actually made me feel better. I have been wondering if she moved exceptionally fast or if I was just not used to keeping up with 2-year-olds.

8) We had the house inspection! It went very well! There are very few problems with the house. Tom is going to spend today over at the house painting some exposed wood on the outside of the house so that our Appraiser doesn't slow the loan process when we file for FHA.

8) I have the bedroom and kitchen mostly packed for moving! Before you know it I will be ready to move out of this place! WooHoo!!!

8) We discovered our bugs are German Cockroaches. The hardest kind to kill, found most frequently in apartment buildings, and the second leading cause of air allergies (the first is pollen). No wonder Lulu and Tom have had such bad allergies!! I can't wait to leave the bugs!!!!!!

8) After today Tom will only have two more Saturday classes left for this semester!!!! Next semester it will be evening classes during the week! I much prefer evening classes to losing my whole weekend to school.

8) I figured out how to really good gluten free pumpkin bread and white bread this week!!!

8) Next week we make the 485 mile trek to my home town for Thanksgiving!!! I can't wait to see everyone!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eliza is Sitting Up!

Yesterday I was changing Lulu's diaper while Eliza rolled happily on the floor. Suddenly she rolled up into a sitting position! I was SHOCKED! So was she! Eliza looked so completely stunned and startled that she actually knocked herself over a few seconds later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saving Money While Grocery Shopping

Yesterday in my Small Successes post I wrote that I had cut down on my grocery bill. It occurred to me that this is something we all struggle with and maybe we can exchange tips on how to cut down on that darn grocery bill.  Here is a list of tips I have heard/applied.

1) Go grocery shopping once a week. If you run out of something write it down but go without until the next weeks grocery shopping trip. This has helped me a great deal!

2) Make a menu plan. I try to make a menu. Most places I have read on saving money say make a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack menu plan for the week and stick to it. I normally only do dinner and breakfast. In my house we have the same thing for breakfast for a week or two at a time. Snacks is usually fruit and maybe some crackers or homemade bread/cookies. Lunch is normally leftovers from dinner. I have been attempting to implement menu plans. Some weeks I do a good job and some weeks I fail.

3) Make a list of everything you buy on a regular basis and keep it on the fridge. That way you can mark next to an item as you run out of it. Then when you go grocery shopping you can make your menu and look at what you have run out of on your list. It makes it quicker and easier to keep track of everything. That way you don't over buy or under buy. I have started making a list but have yet to put it on the fridge and use it.

4) Cutting coupons. I must admit I don't do this. I have a SIL who is a pro at this! One day she came in and said that she had matched a coupon with a sale and had bought a tube of toothpaste for free! I have never been able to do that.

5) Shop at alternative and cheaper places such as Aldi's or Sam's Club or a farmer's market. Two of my SIL's have had great success at finding what they need from the grocery store for much cheaper from Aldi's. Tom does not like Aldi's so I have chosen to shop from Sam's Club. This means buying in bulk and once a month but I kind of prefer that anyways. I go to the grocery store for a very limited number of things. I also love shopping farmer's markets! You can get fresh fruit and vegetables for much cheaper and much fresher than the grocery store. I buy all my meat from a farmer's co-op meat market once a month. I spend $40 on meat and have plenty for a whole month! It is MUCH healthier, leaner, and fresher than anything I have ever seen at the grocery store.

6) Set an amount that you can spend on groceries each week and don't exceed it. I try to only spend $25 each week. I know some people who take only cash with them to the grocery store so that they cannot exceed budget. I haven't done that yet. I am pretty successful so far at keeping the bill $20 to $25 a week.

What have you tried that has helped you cut down the grocery bill?

Small Successes

Danielle Bean at Faith&Family Live says,"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that." My successes this week are small indeed but happy ones.

1) I made a big thing of Granola and bought yogurt so Lulu and I now have a healthy breakfast to eat each morning. It is also a lot cheaper than buying cereal at the grocery store.

2) This Saturday marks 6 months of breastfeeding! Yesterday I introduces rice cereal. Eliza ate it but didn't seem to enjoy it. I took my MIL's suggestion of taking a scant 1/4 cup ground up rice (or rice flour) and cooking it down with 1 cup water like it was pudding. Then you can you put it in serving sizes in an ice tray and freeze it. It is a little thick for Eliza so I mix it with a little breast milk.

3) I did all my grocery shopping for the week for $20! I am trying to cut down on the budget so it is VERY exciting that I can get away with that little and still have everyone very satisfied.

Bonus) My kitchen is very clean!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You Know Your Tired When...

Recently I have been exhausted and so I have decided to revisit some of my funnier mom moments induced by sleeplessness. These are in no particular order and some of them are really old.

8) You put a size 4 diaper on my 5-month-old and didn't notice.

8) You chew out your husband for sleeping longer than you.

8) You daughter dumps a whole bag of chips in the living room and you don't care as long as she is not bothering you.

8) You put one daughter on the floor to play while you rock the other to sleep. Only you rock yourself to sleep instead and wake up to the older daughter hugging the younger one in your lap.

8) You put your vitamins in the refrigerator then can't find them the next day.

8) A stranger in the grocery store walks up and ask what your daughter's name is and you suddenly can't remember.

8) You call the doctor's office to schedule a well-visit then suddenly don't remember which child you where calling for.

I am sure there are more funny moments but I am too tired to remember them. What funny moments have you had induced by sleeplessness?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lulu's First Sentence

Lulu spoke her first sentence!

Right after we had returned home from mass Tom sat down and Lulu started to attempt to climb into his lap. Tom looked at her and said, "Sweetie I can't pick you up. I need to put on clothes." Lulu grabbed his shirt and pants and said, "Your wearin clothes!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shout It Out Loud (small successes)

On Faith&Family Live they believe "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that." I have two not-so-small successes this week.

1) I bought a house!!! Our bid was accepted on Tuesday! We will close around Dec. 10. I started packing yesterday!

2) I completely took over running the budget this week! Tom creates the budget and makes the major financial decisions, I run the day to day budget and pay all the bills. With Tom's help I have created a much better system for keeping track of our finances.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

HOUSE!

As you know, we have been living in an apartment with three flights of stairs, bugs, and no laundry facilities. We have been looking for a house for over a year. We really really want to buy a house! A few months ago we found a house that we thought was "THE" house. We put a bid on it the same day the owners decided to take it off the market. Both Tom and I went into a depression so we stopped looking very hard.

In the last few weeks I got the itch to look again but Tom was not ready. Well... last Sunday I was bored and felt drawn to my computer. I got on realtor.com and start looking through the houses in our price range. "THE" house popped up! It is 1,475 square feet, 4 bedroom, 1 bath, 1 car garage with a work room attached, HUGE back yard, and great neighbors.

I became very excited! Tom agreed to go look at it. He became very serious about it and started the loan process. I decided to drive over and look at the outside of it. It looked like no one was home. I drove into the driveway and started looking around the front porch. There was a welcoming mat with my home state football team on it! I looked at it and thought, "I am home." At that moment a little old lady walked out and said,"May I help you?" Needless to say I was very embarrassed.

We finally got to look at the inside of the house. There are a few things that will need fixed or updated but for the price it is an amazing house! This house is much nicer than anything we anticipated buying. The couple who currently own it are from my home state! They have lived there for the last 40 years. This 80-year-old house has only had two owners. It has been well kept and looked after.

It didn't take us long to put in an offer. The couple countered our offer. We countered their counter. They countered our counter. In our minds the house became smaller the problems became bigger. We looked at our bank account that would completely disappear if we bought this house. I started panicking. I insisted of looking at it again before we signed. Seeing the house again was like a breath of fresh air. I thought, "Ok we could do this. But I really really want to be completely sold. Lord please sell me on this if this is Your will!" At that moment the neighbors pulled up.

They are a nice couple around our age with a daughter who is only 4 days older than Lulu. They told us all about the neighborhood and the park near by. The wife told me that she had been praying that someone with kids would move in next door. Then she looked at Lulu and said, "You can come make sugar cookies anytime you want!" To me she said,"Knock on my door if you every need or want anything." I thought, "Ok. We are buying."

Tom's moment of "this is the house" was when he was talking to the couple who currently own it. They told him that the AC is only 2 months old. They also said, "We where hoping you would buy this house the first time you came to look at it!"

We signed the contract! Now we have a months worth of paper work and packing to do. The closing date will be around Dec. 10.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mother-In-Law of the Year Award Goes Too...

My mother-in-law (MIL) is one of the most amazing people! She is a certified nurse who is on call for all of her grandchildren 24/7/. She is willing to babysit any time I feel I need it. She cooks dinner for the entire family once a week. She is perfectly willing to assist in anyway: at the doctor's office, babysitting, doing laundry, the list goes on and on.

What always amazes me is her perfect willingness to do my laundry! Lets be clear: I have never requested she do my laundry. I live on the third floor of an apartment complex with no washer and dryer. After Eliza was born my MIL said that her baby gift would be to do the laundry for the first six weeks after the baby came. Well Eliza is now 5 months old and she stills does my laundry on occasion.

Let me begin at the beginning. You see after Eliza was 6 weeks old I started taking my laundry to a laundry mat. This proved to be difficult but not impossible. Somehow my MIL had a sixth sense of when I was feeling completely overwhelmed with the laundry and she would call me and ask, "Can I come pick up your laundry and wash it for you?" What a question!

Well one Sunday my MIL and one of my sister-in-laws (SIL) approached me and said, "We don't think you need to be going to a laundry mat." They explained that they where nervous about Lulu playing on the little play ground and getting sick with flu season approaching. It also didn't make sense to them that I should spend all that money on my laundry. They proposed that once a week I go to my SIL and do laundry while Lulu plays with her children and once a week I take it to my MIL's house. Now the original plan was that I would do it at my MIL's house but that is not how it has worked out. If I look a little tired or if Lulu seems slightly out-of-sorts then she sends us home (which happens most weeks) and finishes the laundry, folds it, and returns it to me. Talk about the most amazing laundry service!

I wish there was a way to properly thank her for all of her help! I don't know how to let her know how much I greatly appreciate everything she does for my family.