Tuesday, April 26, 2011

confidence changes everything...

butterfly exhibit.... look hard they are there!

If you've been around here for very long then you are probably are familiar with our sweet Balin and his medical woes. Its nothing super serious. This is not a sick baby blog. We just have a little guy who has been challenged with a few issues that needed clearing up. He was born with hydroceles and hernias. When he was about 18 months old we had a surgery done in Sheveport, LA. The same week he also was put under general anesthesia to get ear tubes. After a few months the hydrocele came back. It proceded to grow to the size of a small lemon. We were in the middle of moves and had been seen by a surgeon in the town we just moved from. He met with us twice and then told me after an ultrasound that it was a simple surgery and someone else should do it. Whatever. We moved here and knew we had to get it taken care of! This Christmas we had it removed by a local urologist. My mother in law came down from the frozen tundra for two weeks to help take care of Silas who was then only three months old.  Everything looked great.. and then three months later, after a bout with the flu, voila. Round three. This time we were done messing around! We made our appointment (the waiting list was over a month!) with a pediatric surgical urology specialist at the special fancy far away kids hospital in the nearest big city. I navigated the CRAZY streets of downtown and the medical center and didnt even get lost. I even got us there in time to spend a couple of hours at the museum before hand.
When we got to the hospital I realized my heart was POUNDING. I am so sick of this. Another Dr. Another surgery. Another round of what happens now? He walked in the room and instantly... calmed me. He is older, and confident, sweet with Balin and immediately started reviewing his chart... there in the room WITH ME. I was able to point things out and ask questions. He examined Balin and then reviewed the last surgery notes again. At this point he completely won me over by looking me in the face and saying the most magical words ever. "I think I know whats happening here."  I was so excited to see a confident answer from a competant Dr. I could have hugged the man. I didnt. I stuffed more baby puffs in the baby's face and waited his diagnosis. Its too complicated to attempt to explain, but basically the last surgeon finished the surgery in a way that allowed the hydrocele to come back. (It wasn't a mistake, just not the best technique. I dont doubt his abilities.. just know Balin needs better.) ALSO he pointed out that we need to go in laproscopically and check for another hernia on top of getting rid of the current hydrocele. (which could be why the second surgery happened in the first place!) AMEN.  He sat down and drew me a picture.. with two different colored pens... to help explain to me what needs to happen. He has no idea how much I needed that! He appologized for Balin having to go through this again. Dude. If you need a pediatric urologist... I've got one for you! We are currently planning the surgery for sometime this summer.
I love this sweet boy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Eight {old} pictures of my eight year old!

 Oh time... why must you pass so quickly? It seems so short, these eight long years. My son, my joy, my challenge, my blessing, my constant reminder that God is good.
I love you my Ayden Sebastian. My venerable fire.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Simply Eats::{Bundt of the month and a video surprise}

I was preparing to post Aprils Bundt last night when ABC shared this awesome video:

'Made in America': Nordic Ware Kitchenware Creating Jobs and Delicious Cakes for U.S. Economy - ABC News

I am so proud that I directly caused this spike in business. I didn't? Well don't tell my husband. He thinks the kitchen messes have been worth it! I personally have my eye on one of those robin's egg blue pans! I have a green one. They are beautiful and might soon find a place on the wall. I digress. In honor of April, springtime, brunches and friends I give you our April Bundt:

April's sunshine coffee cake

1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbl cinnamon

Mix wet ingredients in one bowl. Stir together pudding, cake mix and 1 tsp cinnamon. Mix together wet and dry ingredients. In small bowl mix together topping ingredients. Grease and flour your bundt pan. (nothing beats Crisco) Sprinkle topping evenly around the bottom. Spoon batter on top. Bake at 350 for 30 mins or until cake tests as done when stuck with a knife. Turn out onto drying rack and enjoy the beauty. Serve with coffee for friends who may invite you to every future event they have.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A birthday weekend

We did a weekend in Houston to celebrate our big guys 8th birthday! The real day is friday and with good friday and passover and Easter this weekend we decided to celebrate a bit early. We went to see Rio at the big XD theatre near my parents house. It was soooo much fun. There was only one issue I had with the movie and my three year old summed it up well. "Mommy, her bird costume was innapoepiut." But seriously. How does one go about making carnivale in RIO appropriate? Considering these are the same people who made Ice Age 2, which we walked out of the theatre on because of the over the top sexual innuendos, I felt it was handled well. The annimation was beautiful! and the 3D well worth it on this one! I also loved loved loved the music tie ins. After the movie we went to Incredible Pizza for lunch. Sunday we got up and headed home, but made a quick stop at Ikea to check out the cribs. Silas is in a drop side and I don't trust it! We could not get one because the company vehicle doesnt have as much room as the van so it wouldnt fit for the ride home. After lunch we ran into the Galleria a few miles down the road and celebrated at Rainforest Cafe. Oh how we love lunch with Cha Cha! Even Silas got into it and was jumping and dancing along to the music.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A forgotten perfect moment

Months ago we had a snow day here in Mexico South Texas. I had promised Balin that day we go to the zoo, but because it was too cold we had to stay inside. We came up with a sweet solution though. Buzz and Woody from his new Duplo set from Santa would go to the zoo instead!

Noah misses seeing Dinosaurs more often

Buzz loves the baby elephant

Jessie could watch the farm animals for hours

Howdy do?

Simply Eats:: {baby food part deux}

The Why: Making your own baby food is super easy, fun and economical! I broke it down to about 35$ for 238 (1 ounce) ice cubes. That is approximately 95 (2.5 oz) jars of food. Making the Jars about 36 cents each! My math is a bit funny because I don't remember exactly how many cubes I made but this is close! I picked a Saturday and spent the day making enough food for a month. I had a blast and felt great doing something so good for my sweet boy.

Tools: Good quality blender (you will destroy a cheap blender blending sweet potatoes. Either dont blend sweet potatoes or use a good blender.) I LOVE my Kitchenaid Mr. Simply bought me for our first Christmas. Plastic or metal strainers. Ice cube trays. Zip lock bags. Steamer basket.

The Menu: Buy vegetables and fruits based on your values! Want your baby 100 % organic? go for it.. but it will be more expensive. You can buy all fresh foods, but I find frozen helpful. Here is a list of what I bought for our first menu:
Sweet potatoes (3 large)
butternut squash (1 med)
1 large bag pre washed organic green beans
2 small bags frozen peas
4 avocados
2 large jars no sugar added applesauce
frozen peaches (no sugar added)
frozen blueberries (no sugar added)
4 mangoes (i threw out 2 for being yucky inside)

The How: I make baby food in three ways, roasted and pureed, steamed and pureed and thawed and pureed
Roasting~ Foods with a skin like sweet potatoes and butternut squash I  cook in the oven completely and then after they have cooled a bit I scoop out the flesh and blend it with filtered water to the right consistency.
Fresh or frozen vegetables get steamed just until they get soft and then pureed. If too thin I'll pre add some grain cereal to thicken it up. Or leave it runny and add the cereal when you serve it. Up to you.
Fruits~ most of the fruits I give Silas are blended with applesauce. Regular natural or no sugar added applesauce gets a turn in the blender and then its ready to blend with any fruit I happen to have. It helps the texture and makes them go further. Some fruits, like mangoes and blueberries I'll blend and freeze by themselves to use with oatmeal.
Avocados~ quite possibly my favorite baby food. Avocados have a tendency like bananas to oxidize quickly and turn brown. To counter this I cut them in half, take out the pit and then scoop the inside into a plastic baggie. I squeeze out the air and then use a rolling pin to squash it up. When mashed well I snip off a corner of the bag, squeeze it into an ice cube tray and immediately cover it with saran wrap before freezing. Warning: if you keep these in your freezer guard them from husbands who love to grab one to thaw and smear on their sandwich :-).
All purees get poured into ice cube trays and frozen. Then get stored in gallon size zip locks I label with the date and type of food. I'm looking for a better storage container, like a Tupperware box, that I can keep this south Texas humidity out of better!
*first foods~ to make a consistency similar to a jar food stage 1 I'll put the puree through a mesh strainer. My babies have never needed more than a couple weeks worth of this.

** My favorite new toy. The Boon feeder spoon. Amazing. It holds almost four ounces and you can completely feed the baby with only one hand! I take this filled with goodies to baseball games or restraunts. Then I don't have an extra bowl to mess with and dirty spoon to clean. Simply wipe the spoon off and put the cap back on and toss it in your bag! I can buy them at my H.E.B for about 7$. Worth every penny and then some!

In a few weeks I'll post part three:: stage 3 foods and introducing table food

Monday, April 11, 2011

Simply Eats:: {baby food part 1}

Almost a month ago Silas started solid foods. We started with very fine purees and he has quickly progressed to thicker textures and even can mash baby puffs and other soft foods with his gums. I started making my own baby food when Ayden was a baby. I found it fun and money saving! Not to mention I did not have to feed him nasty smelling stuff from jars. Here is a little lo down on my baby food thinking.

When to start:  This is completely between you and your Dr. We started rice cereal at 4 1/2 months. He only got a couple of very watery tablespoons a few times a week. Once that was easy for him and he was moving food to the back of his mouth with his tongue and not just sucking it we started brown rice. At about 5 months two weeks we decided he was ready for something more substantial. He was nursing further and further apart and was very curious about what we were doing at the table! Silas is breast fed so nutritionally at this point food is not necessary! This is all for experience sake. Different foods provide great opportunities for stimulation. We also love being together at the table. There is never a too early to bring baby into this sweet family time.

What to start with: again, always check with your Dr. There is lots of debate about this. A Dr from Stanford recently came out blaming white rice cereal for obesity in America. Whatever. I think he is a bit off his rocker and desperate for funding or something. White rice cereal is a perfect first food because {A} it is hypoallergenic. Almost every baby can eat rice without a reaction. This way you can teach them to swallow correctly without risking an allergic response to say wheat or gluten. Rice is perfect because it is perfectly bland {B} and can be flavored with breast milk or formula, again allowing them to learn to swallow without flavor complications. Rice is also super easy {C} to make to whatever texture you want which will help train baby to swallow. Remember, starting a baby on rice is a short term event. They are not eating cups of rice a day. This is to teach their little tongue to work correctly and introduce them to swallowing something thicker than milk. Silas could swallow well fairly quickly so other foods and brown rice were not very far far behind.  When choosing fruits and vegetables to start with I usually go with bland before sweet. They've been drinking only milk for months. Silas completely gagged when we offered him bananas. He likes them now, but the flavor was way too sweet for several weeks.

What to avoid: Never feed your baby honey. Delay and watch carefully foods that contain wheat or gluten and strawberries. Wait till after their first birthday for shellfish or nuts. There is a great list HERE that gives a more extensive list.

Watch for baby food part 2. I'll tell you how I made a months worth of food at around 32 cents a jar!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

refreshed.. for a moment at least

Today was a good day. I wouldn't call it productive, but it was good. I went to bible study this morning. We finished Beth Moore last week and started an Andy Stanley study this week. I am often the youngest woman in the room. There are sometimes other younger moms there but for the most part the women have teenage children and up. There are generations present.. mothers and their mothers. It has been years since I have been in fellowship with older women. (and note.. I am not calling these women old. just referencing my much inferior wisdom!) I've been in "my generation" type churches since I went to college, and even in the larger churches you tend to get put in categories. "mothers with young children, singles, young marrieds." It is so wonderful to just sit in the room and soak in the future. To listen to these women, who could be my own grandmothers and their children who could be my own mother, pray for their babies... and each other. To hear their concerns and insights has brought me some much needed persepective.
After study was over I claimed my husband. yup. just like a coat check. and made him take me out to lunch. We took the littles to Chilis and stole an hour together. Then he had to go back to work. Shucks.
Then... despite the dishes in the sink and the clothes all over the floor... I got my craft on. While the babes slept I made this:

I was inspired by Songbird . This may be my new favorite blog! I love it even more than mine :-). Ha! Beautiful ideas.  There is a tutorial somewhere on her blog on how to make the wreath in the picture of her distressed mirror. I for the life of me can not find it tonight. Mine turned out very different and I made it differently as well. She used a dollar store foam wreath base. I could not find one so I used foam core cut into a donut. She also took a dime store novel and altered it with paint and then rolled the pages. I used a book printed in the 50's. I wanted a more uniform look. My pages were pretty thick, so they did not roll as full and messy like hers (which I adored on hers) but instead rolled fairly uniform. I love my finished product though and am very very happy! I also took a lamp I bought for 5$ at a local discount store and covered the shade with pages of the same book that I had dipped in a glue/water mixture. I have plans to finish the lamp with a bit of my grandmothers lace and some of our remaining beads from our Italy trip. I love the idea of Mr. Simply getting home late from work and coming in to the soft light of a lamp with little reminders of where we met! I havent told you that story? I'll have to do that.. but not tonight. It may have been a refreshing day, but it was still a long one! Time for bed sleepy heads!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A small escape

This saturday we woke up a bit early but Sweet Silas had blessed us with a 6 hour stretch of sleep so we felt refreshed and ready for a break! Knowing our funds are tightly belted right now we decided to make use of the company vehicle we have been blessed with and a season pass we bought ourselves last fall and headed south to Corpus Christi and the Texas State Aquarium. We packed a picnic lunch and jumped in the car. I was a bit surprised at how busy they were, but a lot of people live here in South Texas and our entertainment venues are limited.
you know you've always wanted to see "the world's largest" squirrel

They narrowly missed being eaten for lunch

Goliath Bird Eating spider... we have a picture of this in one of our favorite bedtime books Actual Size

Exactly the question one needs to be asked while sandwiched in line waiting...

We had a great day all in all. There were couple of blips. One involving a beach and sand traps. The other occured after we decided to stop and get coffee and gelato (I know GELATO!.. and they used Monin syrups!) we were busilly occupied making our order and were keeping an eye on the kids as they settled into chairs. I had noticed a group of vacationers.. looked like two families with young kids. The boys were probably 5-10 years old. Ayden came up as we were about to sit down and said "mom, that boy that was in here was outside playing with a toy that looks like Balins souvenir from the aquarium. I think he took Balin's toy!" I am quick to assume the good in people and was like nah... so Lucas went and checked the car. Sure enough it was gone. Balin had set it down on a chair so he could eat his gelato and one of the boys walked up, took his toy and the family left. I'm sure a conversation occured later at their hotel like this "where did you get that?" "i found it" "lucky you!"  It just irked me. I was seriously angry for a good amount of time. It was a 3$ toy. completely replaceable.. but my three year old crying in the backseat "God stole my toy!" was not a happy moment. It was sad to see him feel injustice. We had a good talk which ended in him saying "its ok mommy. I have lots of other special toys." I'm pretty proud of this guy. Of all my guys actually. I'm a lucky lady.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I'm sooo excited to learn about this new to me program. I was leary at first, but am really enjoying it now. You simply go to http://swagbucks.com/refer/memesimply and sign up. Then you have the option of inviting your friends through email (i declined) and dowloading a tool bar. I hate tool bars, but the idea that I can actually earn REAL money doing what I already do made me give it a try! I heard about this from Freebies4mom.com.  You can earn Swag Bucks by searching in your tool bar, on the site, taking surveys, watching video clips (I love the Rachel Ray recipes!) and lots of other ways I have yet to figure out. I have 130 Swag Bucks after one afternoon of experimenting. At 450 Swag Bucks I can get a $5 amazon.com gift card. I'm saving up for a camera!! Another awesome way to earn swag bucks is to print out coupons. When you redeem them they eventually (6-8 weeks) will find their way back into your swag bucks account as 10 SBs. So fun! So I can save today $5.00 on a box of claritin and add to my camera fund at the same time! Yes, I know its only pennies at a time, but seriously.. pennies add up.. especially when they don't come out of my husbands paycheck! If you are interested in joining go to the really ugly Swag Bucks widget on my sidebar.. that way I get credit for being your referal. This is the my favorite part.. when you get referals you get swagbucks for every swagbuck they earn too! SO JOIN and help me get a camera earn yourself rewards!