Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ABC's

I saw this on another blog and decided to fill it out. The ABCs of me!

A) Age: 29 (for another week or so).

B) Bed size: Queen. Double is too small to fit the kids when they need us and king is just useless because we're cuddlers.

C) Chore you hate: Cleaning the stove

D) Dogs: I didn't say anything at the time, but Carly ran away while a friend was keeping her :-( So Angel is back to being an only dog and she's 12 years old and definitely showing her age, so there won't be any new dogs around here to hassle her.

E) Essential start to your day: Time to sit in peace and quiet and check the internet while I actually wake up.

F) Favorite color: Blue.

G) Gold or Silver: Silver.

H) Height: 5' 6"

I) Instruments you play: Nothing really. I can play melody on a keyboard and a few things on the recorder

J) Job Title: Well, I'm an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, but I'm not getting paid for that at the moment. And I'm also accounts manager, chef, head instructor and lead childcare provider at Chez Hill, which pays in hugs, kisses, snuggles and poopy diapers.

K) Kids: 6.5 year old (the "half" is very important, you know), 3.5 year old and 5 month old girls. And that should be it, because the factory is officially closed, but I still worry about that 0.5% chance of a 4th...

L) Live: Western Montana

M) Mom's name: Christine

N) Nicknames: Momma

O) Overnight hospital stays: 4, all pregnancy related. 2 for pre-term labor with Sierra, 1 to deliver Sierra, and 1 for hyperemesis while pregnant with Secora

P) Pet peeve: Political rants

Q) Quote from a movie: "I got two guns. One for each of ya" -Tombstone

R) Righty or lefty: Righty

S) Siblings: A brother 6 years older than me

T) Time you wake up: Around 8. Josh gets up with the girls at 7 and wakes me up when he leaves

U) Underwear: Is that a question?

V) Vegetables you dislike: Cooked carrots

W) What makes you run late: Gathering 3 kids and getting them dressed and in the car

X) X-rays you've had: A bunch on my left leg for a bone cyst and a chest x-ray or two

Y) Yummy food you make: Everything I make, is yummy, right?! Ummm...any baked sweets. The cinnamon rolls are a favorite

Z) Zoo favorite animal: I think the giraffes. My mom's rubbing off on me.

Check In: 2011 Goals

We're 3 months into the year, so it's time to do a check-in on my 2011 goals!

Save at least 10% of our income (also 101 in 1001 goal #47): I want to put aside at least 10% of this year's gross salary in emergency fund cash. So far, we've saved 1.5%. With April's paycheck and part of our tax refund (which should also show up the first week of April), that will be bumped up to 6.5%. I'm expecting to actually end up putting aside about 13% in the emergency fund by the end of the year.

Complete 12 sewing projects throughout the year: This one might end up being a bust. I made a kindle cover that was a disaster and haven't attempted another one yet. I helped Sierra sew a bag for her book club. I guess that could count as 2 so far. I have been doing a lot of quilting lately (now that winter's on its way out, ha! That's a post for another day...)

Exercise (also 101 in 1001 goal #8): My goal was to tone up and get over the pregnancy aches and pains without losing weight. Success was to be measured by not throwing my lower back out at any point after March 31, comfortably fitting into my favorite skirts by July 31, and running one mile without stopping at some point before the end of the year. The stomach issues have put a damper on this. My skirts all fit, but it's not from exercise. The limits on what I can eat have dropped me down to pre-Sedona's pregnancy weight (8 pounds less than pre-Secora's pregnancy weight). I'm holding steady there, but it's taking some effort. Exercise would be good for me, but I'm not sure I could take in the calories to off-set it, so I'm not doing anything more active than walking around the neighborhood with the kids right now.

Work my Brain (also 101 in 1001 goal #12): My goal was to accumulate all 75 continuing education hours (CERPs) I need to recertify my IBCLC. I've gathered all of my certificates for everything I had already done and that totals 37.25 CERPs. I've signed up for the GOLD conference, which has been approved for 22 CERPs. I also plan to apply for credit for the class I teach, which I expect to earn me somewhere between 20 and 40 CERPs. That will get me to 75, but 5 of those must be ethics related, so I will probably still need to do a run through of the ethics class on Health-E-Learning.

All in all not bad for a first quarter follow-up, I think!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

My sister-in-law has gifted me a subscription to Cook's Country magazine for several years now and I LOVE it. Almost every recipe I've tried from them has been great. This one is their cinnamon roll recipe from the December/January 2009 issue.

Ingredients:

Dough
3/4c milk heated to 110 degrees
2 1/4tsp yeast (one envelope)
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 1/4c flour
1/2c cornstarch
1/2c sugar
1 1/2tsp salt
12 tablespoons butter cut into 12 pieces and softened

Filling
1 1/2c packed brown sugar
1 1/2Tbsp cinnamon
1/4tsp salt
4Tbsp butter, softened

Icing
4oz cream cheese, softened
1Tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla
1 1/2c powdered sugar

Mix milk and yeast, then add the eggsIn bowl of a mixer, combine flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt (note: an artisan kitchen aid is not big enough to accommodate a double recipe, the professional models are)

With mixer on (use the dough hook) slowly add the milk/yeast/egg mixture




With mixer on medium, add butter one piece at a time

Hammer the pin at the back of the mixer back in to place if yours is loose like mine...(update: or get clued in by a reader that there is a screw underneath the mixer to tighten this up so it doesn't happen!)

Continue kneading the dough with the mixer about 10 minutes, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Your mixer will walk itself off the counter if you're not careful, so stay close by



Turn dough out onto a clean surface and knead (I forgot and had to push all my flour off to the side, but there's so much butter, you don't need flour at all)

Let dough rise in an oiled bowl covered with saran wrap (about two hours)


Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface

Roll into a large rectangle

Brush the dough with the 4 Tbsp softened butter, leaving one long edge un-buttered

Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together for filling

Sprinkle filling evenly over dough

Starting with the long side that has butter/filling to the edge, roll up the dough, keeping the roll tight. Press gently to seal the un-buttered end to the roll.

I use dental floss (plain, waxed) to cut the dough. I start in the middle and then work my way out to both ends. Slide the floss under the roll of dough to the middle

Cross the ends (this is really hard to do AND take pictures!)

Then pull the ends until the roll is cut

Slide the floss under the roll again and make another cut

Continue working your way to the end
Then go back and slice up the other half

Place the rolls in a greased 9x13 pan (I spray with non-stick cooking spray, you may want to line with foil and then grease that). Depending on how small you cut the rolls, you may also need a 9x9 pan. At this point, I cover the pans with saran wrap and put them in the fridge over night.

To make up the icing, mash up the cream cheese in a bowl

Add the vanilla and milk

Add the powdered sugar 1/2c at a time

If you are preparing this ahead of time, it's easy to put the icing in a sandwich bag and put it in the fridge with the rolls overnight. Then in the morning, you just clip a bottom corner off the bag and squeeze it onto the rolls


In the morning, get the cinnamon rolls and icing out of the fridge and turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Once the oven is pre-heated, bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes. Top rolls with about 1/2c icing immediately when they come out of the oven, then add extra icing once they've cooled a little bit




Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Stomach Pain Mystery

The stomach pain mystery continues, but hopefully not for long. My doctor doesn't do GI scopes, but another doctor in the practice does, so she set me up for a consult with him. I must say, this whole practice has rather refreshing ideas regarding informed consent, as in, they actually inform you, answer your questions, and then ask for your consent instead of just doing whatever they want with little explanation. So I am set for a good ol' esophagogastroduodenoscopy (i.e. EGD, or upper GI) on April 4th. It will be the very first time EVER that I've had any sort of sedation AT ALL. I'm a bit freaked out. I've never even had laughing gas at the dentist. Of course, it's not full on anesthesia or anything, just enough to make you loopy. I'd rather not be loopy, but I don't think I'm going to get out of it.

Gonna be looking for Barrett's disease, ulcers, H. Plyori, polyps, celiac disease, and anything else that might come up. This doc had already talked to my doctor, but he did a quick exam on me too after we were done going over the whole history. Gallbladder still isn't tender to palpation (which I'm hoping means we can just forget about that for a while). Upper left and epigastric regions are still very very tender. So we'll be spending the next week playing "guess what the diagnosis will be!" I asked the doc what we'll do if I have ulcers after having been on all these PPIs all this time and he said if I do, I probably have H. Pylori, so we'll treat for that. If there aren't any ulcers, we're looking at balancing the long term benefits and long term risks of taking PPIs indefinitely, because the higher dose ones work to manage the pain (assuming there isn't something else he sees that would be a source of pain). It's tempting to suggest we just treat for H. pylori anyway and skip the scope, but this has been going on long enough (over 10 years, off and on, it's just that this is the first long, sustained stretch) that it's time to look for actual causes and stop just treating symptoms.

I'm distracting myself from this whole "let us dope you up, slap on some monitors, and shove a camera down your throat" business by planning our first road trip of the spring. Can't wait to get out of here and into some warmer weather for a few days! Hoping Secora's history of being a good traveler holds up!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Heart Faces: Slice of Life


This week's challenge at the I Heart Faces photo challenge is slice of life. They have changed the days so you now enter Sunday and Monday, so if you want to participate, now's the time!



I just love this picture of Josh helping Sedona at the park

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Because I Can Laugh At Myself...

I was laying on my back, holding Secora up in the air. She thought it was hilarious, so I grabbed the video camera to catch the baby giggles for our parents. You know what happened next, don't you?

Thankfully, she missed my face and only got...well, just about everything else. And being the seasoned mom that I am (that really should've known better) I didn't even drop the baby.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Matching Sisters

Sierra and Sedona will have matching scars now. Sierra split open the skin over her orbital bone last night (exactly how is a long story, and one she doesn't want told, but basically she tripped and hit the baseboard heater). Sedona did the exact same thing almost 2 years ago. It looks pretty good this morning. The doctor wanted to do stitches so there'd be less of a scar, but she was adamant she didn't want stitches, so the doc and I explained the pros and cons of stitches and glue to her and then I let her pick. I was leaning towards glue myself, but if she wanted to sit through stitches, I was okay with that too. As you can see, she chose glue. She heals pretty good, she's had other bad scars that faded well over time, and you can barely see Sedona's now, so I think it'll be fine in the long run.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cheap Snacks

We're getting closer to the end of the month and my grocery budget is empty. I'm finding the grocery money doesn't go nearly as far now that the girls are older! I could either use some money from the vacation budget (which I'll probably still do to some extent because Sedona thinks there's no food at all if we happen to be out of yogurt), or make up some snack with things we have on hand.

I needed to make bread yesterday anyways, so I went ahead and made up a batch of pita chips while I was at it. Original recipes were found on AllRecipes.com.

First, you have to make pita bread (this is great with greek salad (add feta crumbles) as stuffing if you're looking for dinner ideas)

Ingredients:
1 1/8c warm water
1 1/2tsp sugar
1 1/2tsp yeast
1tsp salt
1Tbsp oil
3c flour

I made these right after I had made the bread, so the bowl's "dirty" (I figured I might as well do both at the same time to minimize dishes).

Mix water and sugar and sprinkle yeast on topLet sit until yeast is foamyMix in salt and oil, then add flour 1 cup at a time (do NOT short the flour. This is one recipe where you DON'T want sticky dough)

Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, then place in lightly oiled bowl (I just spray with non-stick cooking spray)Let risePreheat oven to 500 degrees. Punch down dough and separate into 8 pieces
Roll each piece into a disc (how thin or thick is based on your preference, but if you're making pita chips, you probably want thinner)

Place discs on a cooling rack and place the rack in the oven for 4-5 minutes. I only have one rack, so I do these 2 at a time and let the other discs rise on the counter while they're waiting their turn. Pitas should puff up in the oven. I over did these just a bit

Put a damp towel over them so they soften up a bit

If you want to turn these into pita chips, you have a few more steps to go:

Mix about 1/8c olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut each pita into 8 pieces
Brush both sides of each piece with the oil/salt/garlic powder mixBake for about 7 minutes. You really have to keep an eye on these. Depending on how browned you want them, you might want to pull them early, or leave them an extra 5 minutes. When they come out, you can sprinkle with a little extra salt and/or garlic powder if you want. Voila! Cheap snack foods. I was going to have Josh make up some hummus to dip them in, but we're out of garlic too, so that didn't happen. The girls like them plain and we're in a really dry climate, so we've just left them out and everybody just walks by and grabs a few when they need a snack.

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