Babycakes Review

    I picked this book up from the Library because it was on display and those cup-cakes looked so yummy!   And to top it off, this cook-book is all vegan and mostly gluten-free and mostly sugar-free!!!  

 The author is Erin McKenna and she has a bakery in NYC where she bakes and sells all these yummy treats – those lucky New Yorker’s!

She has a few recipes that use spelt flour, but for the most part, she uses a combination of alternative flours in all her recipes that completely replace wheat.    It’s funny, but I seem to be meeting more and more people who are avoiding wheat and – and if you are one of those people, I would highly recommend this cookbook, being able to make yummy things even with diet restrictions is HUGE, as I have recently discovered.

And I am very excited about her recipe for vanilla frosting that does not include dairy (which Sophy seems to be sensitive too) and it just seems a little bit better for you – she uses soy milk, soy milk powder, and coconut oil to name a few ingredients, but the end results look amazing!  And she even has tips to naturally dye your frosting to avoid those chemically laden food colours which for those of us who have kids who are sensitive to artificial colour, is fantastic. 

So even though we don’t have wheat problems here, it’s still a great cookbook and I can’t wait to try to make her Apple-cinnamon toastie – pg 58 or her gingersnaps – pg 67!

My baby

This is my baby.    She doesn’t know it, but she’s breaking my heart every day because she’s growing up way too fast.  She’s number 4, she’s the last (she BETTER be the last!) and she’s 18 months today… so really, won’t technically be a baby for long.  And she’ll always be the baby of the family but I feel a little gyped, I’ll explain. 

When I had Erik back in 2003, every little thing he did was a miracle.  It was so incredible watching this little person grow, and 100% of my time was spent on him.   That first year seem to take forever.  I have so many memories, took so many pictures, have so many journal entries, it was wonderful.    Then when he was 1, I got pregnant with William and I remember being so happy because I would be getting a new baby because Erik seemed grown up already and I do love the babies.

William arrived in 2005 and again, that was a wonderful time.  I was happy to be home and done work for good (I went back part-time for 9 months when Erik was 1) and  I was so happy with my little family of two boys. 

So then after getting pregnant again when William was 1, Sarah arrived in 2007.    I was in the thick of baby life and loving it.  I had a sweet little girl and we were in the winter, no one was in school so we didn’t have to go anywhere and could just hang out all day.   Those days were wonderful!  I could enjoy my baby and my boys, and obviously I was incredibly busy and probably exhausted and didn’t have enough of me to go around and the house was probably always a mess, but I was loving it.

When Sarah was 20 months, we got pregnant again with Sophy.   By this time Erik was in school every afternoon so after lunch I was packing up 3 kids and bringing him to school and picking him up again after.  Thankfully in 2008 when he as in SK my wonderful friend Jen would pick him up for school so that just left getting him at the end of the day…  but I was big and pregnant by the spring 2009 and it was a challenge.  And I knew that come September, we’d be having to ALL be getting out of the house by 9:00 – daunting thought.

So then sweet Sophia was born in May 2009 – thankfully with just a month left of school and the summer break.  She was such a sweet baby and I’m so thankful we had that summer and it was a good one…. but then fall came.  And it was tough.  I was so darn busy trying to get a 6 year old, 4 year old, 2 year old and infant into the van every morning for 9, and then bringing William back t school for 12:45.    Again, Jen came to my rescue and brought the boys home for me, but my days were broken up and the time I was at home I was just trying to keep things together.    March was awful, my parents were away for the entire month and I really missed my mom and I think I thought I was going to lose my mind!  

And what about Sophy you say?   Well that’s my point!  I was so darn busy after she was born I feel like I missed everything!!!!   The year was a blur and I was so busy with the other kids and life and going back and forth to school and cooking and cleaning that now she’s 18 months and I have NO idea where the time has gone.  Where did that baby go that I had that May… did I misplace her and I’ll find her under some unfolded laundry?   And who is this sweet little toddler saying ‘no’ and climbing ladders and wanting to be her own independent person? 

I guess this is what happens the more kids you have. … you are busier so you the  time goes quicker and before you know it the babies aren’t babies anymore.    But I would never regret having her and when I mentioned to someone how busy I was once, their response was “Well, you choose to have four kids” and that’s the truth!  

Even though it’s gone by fast and I miss having a baby around, I do have my sweet Sophy.  And watching her as a toddler is just as fun as watching her as a baby, probably more.  And it really doesn’t matter how old she gets really, because she always will be MY baby.

Foolish Tenderness

My mom came across this the other day while she was reading her Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 19:18.  The verse reads in the King James, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not they soul spare for his crying.”

Here’s what Matthew Henry says about this verse,  “Parents are cautioned against foolish indulgence of their children, that discover an ill temper of mind, not likely to be cured by kindness.  Check it before it is hardened into a habit; especially if it be in itself sinful, as lying, stealing, or the like; in such a case, put on resolution.  When we repress foolish tenderness, we do our best to render our children a comfort to us, and happy in themselves.” 

Foolish tenderness!  Wow, I see how often I’m guilty of that.  Like when I try to pacify and comfort an angry or disobedient child.  For instance,  sometimes when Sarah gets mad at me and hits me and I just try to calm her rather than dealing with that sinful nature.  Or when one of my kids whine or complain and I feel sorry for them instead of matter of factly dealing with it.      

What he’s saying makes sense and I believe it – an ill-temper of mind is not going to be cured by kindness.  I guess it’s that tough love thing.  They are so many times to be tender, when a child is hurt or sad or scared, but I need to remember that when dealing with the sinful nature, I need resolution, I need to be tough!

And the result…  a child who is a comfort to me  and a child who is happy in THEMSELVES.  Our own hearts condemn us when we’ve done wrong and a child’s heart does the same.  If we deal with their sin appropriately,  we are able to free them from their guilt and then they can feel the freedom in their hearts.  Free heart = happy heart.   

Thanks mom for sharing this with me!

Painting at Omas

Yes, it’s a rainy Monday.  Yes, my two boys should be in school and when we first got up this morning, that was the intention!  But after breakfast William said he wanted to stay home because he has a cold and wasn’t feeling so hot so that left Erik who always finds Mondays tough.  And to top it off, today I planned to bring Sarah to my mom’s so she could spend a few days with Oma.   So we all came.  It’s nice, I like us doing things all together and I know school is important, but family is important too!  

So here we are having a fun relaxing day,  and Oma took the time to paint with the kids after lunch… my budding artists…

William, deeply concentrating…

Sarah, hard at work…

And me, having a little snuggle time with Sophia who feel asleep on me.  It feels so good to snuggle a baby!

I don’t think I could have thought up a better way to spend a rainy November Monday!

Chocolates and Cousins

Last night I ventured into the world of home-made chocolates.  My dear sister (in-law) Shelly has been making them for years and this year I though I’d like do some too.   So she graciously agreed to let me make them with her, so last night we got together and got to work! 

Shelly’s favourite fillings are homemade caramel (YUM!), mocha truffles and peanut butter balls, so we made these kinds last night.    Shelly made the caramel filling at home – she’s been doing it for years and even though they can be tricky (according to her) the batch came out perfect last night – smooth and creamy and so so delicious!   She had poured out the caramel on parchment paper and let it cool and then cuts in into squares and rectangles and then dips them all in milk chocolate and they are amazing!  

The mocha truffles are very easy as well, they are melted chocolate and cream cheese blended together with instant coffee.   You mix them, cool them,  roll them into balls and cover them with dark chocolate.    Done!  Delicious! 

And the peanut butter balls – so easy, so yummy, they taste like reese peanut butter cups.   They are easy to make and fun to dip and I should have made 6 times the recipe instead of 3, so I will  definitly have to make more.

So that was last night, and then today was  part II of our kid swap.    Two weeks ago Jay (my big brother) and Shelly took our 4 for the day and so today after breakfast they dropped their 5 off here.   It’s a win/win situation for everyone.  The kids are thrilled to spend the day with their cousins and Shelly and I are thrilled to ge t a quiet day where we can get some things done!

The older boys spent time playing outside in the sunshine and then in the basement apparently laundering money haha.  They make up the craziest games and then spend hours playing them.  With 5 boys aged 5-11, it’s hard to believe I only had to intervene about 3 times, and those were for incidents just between Erik and Will!!!    They got along so well, it’s nice to see.    And Sarah and her cousin Rachel spent the entire day playing, playing, playing.    They played house where Rachel was the mom and Sarah was the dad – too cute – and they coloured and then coloured some more and they didn’t even bicker once.   They were so sweet together and Rachel says they are ‘best friends.’

And even the babies played well.  Zachary is so cute and as he and Sophy are just about the same size and have the same colour hair, we’ve taken to calling them twins.   Its was nice being able to have him here too – he played so nicely I didn’t even know I had another toddler underfoot.    He went home for naptime, but I’m looking forward to having him here again!

So we all ate supper together when Jason and Shelly came back with pizza, the adults played a game of Settlers – Cities and Knights and the kids played some more.   We finished up, they left, we put our very sleepy children to bed.  It was just a really nice day.  And days like this make me very thankful for our familes, we are blessed.

Fall Wrap-Up

Well I haven’t given up on blogging yet!  It’s been a while, but since fall is over, I’ll do a quick wrap-up of the rest of our fall.

After the Wyoming Fair, we had a really fun afternoon at Appleland with some homeschooling friends of ours.  I of course forgot to take our camera so no pics, but the kids loved picking apples and eating them, and even though Sophia got stung by a wasp, it was great fun and a perfect fall day.

Then on a Sunday afternoon at the end of September we took the kids to the Sunrise Corn Maze.  We took friends of ours from Church and had a great time together.

The maze itself became an adventure when after walking for 30 minutes, we reached the half-way point and so continued on obviously looking for the way out,  however, every path we took led us right back to the middle of the maze!  We tried again and again, and still came back to the same point.   Corn mazes are fun, being stuck in them, NOT so fun.  Especially when your darling 15 month old daughter decides she wants to walk, is obviously is too slow, has to be carried and starts crying.    Erik by that time was ready to get out on his own and our friends have 2 older boys who felt the same way, so then comes the time when we realize that the four boys aren’t with us anymore.   We didn’t panic, but figured that the boys must all be together and safe and so decided to forget finding the exit and we would just back-track instead to the start.   But something didn’t feel quite right, so Jason went back just to make sure that the boys were OK and didn’t he end up finding Erik – at the ripe old age of 7, map in hand, happily wandering the maze by himself,  quite confident of finding his way out on his own.   When we finally came out the ‘entrance’ – William and the  two older boys were playing on the pedal go-carts, and of course they informed us that we hadn’t come out the exit like they had… oh corn mazes!!!

But after the maze, there was plenty to do there… the girls really enjoyed the ‘cornbox’ which we had to eventually drag them out of.  It was a another fun, fall afternoon.

Then we were off to the Ilderton Fall Fair with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Lija and Uncle Mike and our cousins Aiden and Liam on the first of October.  Again, no camera, but even if I had brought the camera, it was the rainiest, coldest, yuckiest day of the fall and even though we still enjoyed the parade (the kids got lots of candy) and went to the fair afterwards (brave souls that we were) any pictures would be of us huddling and freezing our buns off…  so those pictures were probably best left untaken.  We DID however put our furnace on for the first time when we got home after that!   But still a huge thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for a great time!

Then it was off to the cottage for Thanksgiving, and we were blessed with a beautiful weekend and we had a wonderful time.   The boys even ventured into the lake it was so ‘warm’ out – crazy cannuks!!!!

You just have to love any beach time that you get at Thanksgiving!

Then October 22 was the fateful day that I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.   The following week was a painful blur, but I am recovering and will go into more detail another time.

Then of course was Halloween.   Jason and Erik carved the pumpkin to look like Larry-boy from Veggie-tales…

And then Jason took a plain Buzz lightyear costume and jazzed it up by making the best wings to go along with it.  We also made great boots and the costume was complete.    William wanted to be Luke Skywalker and Oma made a fabulous tunic for Will and just by adding some things we had at home, his costume came together and looked great as well.  And Sarah was happy in her tiger suit (my fierce little girl), and sweet Sophia was a poodle, again in costume modified by Oma.  They had a great time,  even Sophia, who happily wandered around the neighbourhood with us, they ate all their candy in a week and everyone was happy.

Phew… so that was our fall in a nut shell.  Busy, happy, tiring.  With some good times and low times,  but now we are starting to look forward to Christmas and I have a little boy here who asks every day… “But when is it going to snow??????”