Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sweet Sleep & Baby Booties

My current memory verse is Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  What a sweet verse!  Ah, lovely rest! 

Thanks to all who have been praying about Fynn's sleep.  There has definitely been improvement this week.  We went over two months with him sleeping in only one hour increments.  He would generally fall back yo sleep right away, but that still equals two months with zero REM sleep for either of us.  I tried everything I could think of as well as suggestions from everyone.  We got into a very regular sleep schedule (any sort of schedule is a big challenge for me!) and bed time routine, I was careful what I ate and  made sure there were no infections going on.  I even elevated his head in case he got a runny nose at night.  The room was just warm enough with a snuggley blanket...still no sleep!  Yet he remains generally happy throughout the day.

The pediatritian and public health professionals I talked to said that at this stage in his life, he's either teething or learning some major skill that he just want's too keep practicing all night long!  And that would fit in just about right: he popped out 4 teeth and I think I see a fifth on the way, learned to sit independently, crawl, stand up, eat more solid food, and got a new car seat all in the last two months.

The only other thing I did differently this week was tell him that we were going to be close all night and that we love him, but even better than that, Jesus loves him and can keep him safe even if momma and poppa aren't right there.  He never sleeps and can send guardian angels to protect him.  So if he wakes up at night, it's okay, and he can just close his eyes and fall right back to sleep.  Do you think he understood?  I don't know for sure, but I know there has been a change.  Last night was the first time he slept through the night for as long as I can remember.  Maybe I don't give him enough credit for what he can understand.

I love that Fynn's a little chunk (love those sausage legs!!!), but I can not find a pair of shoes that will stay on him!  The best one's have been a crocheted pair that my friend Willow made.  So, how hard could it be, right?  I made them kinda big so they could fit over his pj's or big socks if need be Well, here's my first attempt and a pattern to go with if you should ever care to repeat my trial.

Baby Step 1: Open pattern full size, print, and cut two of each piece

Baby Step 2: Using a blanket stitch, work your way around the toe, like so:

Baby Step 3: Sew the tongue in place at the top and center of the toe piece with a running stitch.

 Baby Step 4:  Line up the corner of the heel to the corner made between the sole and the toe pieces.  Blanket stitch up the toe and heel pieces until you have overlapped the tongue by a few centimeters.  Then sew along the base connecting the sole and the heel.

Once you're all the way around, stitch up the toe on that side as far as you did the first.  If there's a little too much extra on the heel piece, you can clip it down so the corners match up right.

Baby Step 5:  I slipped these on Fynn at this point so I could determine the narrowest part of his ankle.  Here I secured a ribbon at one point at the very back that will wrap around to tie in the front.

Baby Step 6:  Finally, I took some puffy paint to give my little mover some traction.  Super simple little extra layer to keep those wiggly toes warm until breakup!  

Tip: Be careful that the soles are facing the way you want them to.  I almost ended up with two left feet!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Adventures in Finger Food: Take One

I actually had my camera handy for Fynn's first official forward crawl last week.  I wasn't in a hurry besides the fact that I could tell it was frustrating for him when the only direction he could manage was backward.  But forward he went at our friends' wedding reception on the 11th. Ah, my little baby's getting so big!  He has now decided that baby food is just too, well, babyish for him.  I mean, he is a big boy who can crawl now, and sporting four teeth, no less! =)  I was able to prolong them a little bit by thickening them with rice cereal or fine oat meal, but now he'll just take one bite or two, then decide he'd rather have whatever Josh or I are eating.

We have been giving him little bites of whatever we're eating, enough to make little meals lately, but I find he really wants to feed himself sometimes.  So I'm diving into the world of finger foods.  I'm afraid I can be one of those people who learns by trial and error with some things, and this was one.  I want to find a simple way to do things that will work for us.

Okay, so I had a sweet potato (one of Fynn's favorite baby foods) and tried to prepare it a little differently this time.  I cut it down into french fry-sized pieces, then put half in a pot of water to boil and the other half I laid out on parchment paper to bake.  Of the later I sprinkled a third with nutmeg, a third with paprika and left a third plain.  These I baked at 350 for 10 minutes.

The boiled strips got done first, so this is what I gave him for lunch.  I guess I boiled them too long, because they just fell apart in his grasp.  So I hand fed him the little portions and made the rest into the old baby food.  You never know, maybe I can talk him into eating it later!

The later half got done and cooled while we were eating.  They turned out the consistency of half dried apples: still moist, but floppy.  I tried them all first and the ones with paprika just tasted bitter so I threw them out to the chickens.

I was so excited for Fynn to try these, I gave him a plain one right away, but by this time, he was quite full from lunch and had no intrest in eating anymore, but at least I know he can grip them:

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Fynn has come down with another nasty bug.  This poor child has had just one thing after the next.  But God is so good, he hasn't ever had multiple things at once, and nothing life threatening.  I was just thinking how we hadn't had anything for a while; that was the time he was teething.  That would have been so hard to have had some infection going on on top of all that!
That got me thanking God for more of the things I find myself taking for granted.  My baby's smile when he "beeps" my nose, even though he is sick brought tears to my eyes!  I became so grateful that I can be the one staying here taking care of my boy.  How many parents around the world are separated from their children for one reason or another!  Even that I am just alive.  For those who don't know, I had a rather rough delivery after which I lost over half my blood volume, passed out and had to be rushed to the ER.  I think about it now, and if I had been alive any other time in history, I might not have made it to be the one holding my baby right now.  I thank God for life in every sense of the word!

I know we're just gypsies in this life, our home being heaven.  Yet God has ordained not only work, but such joys here while we wait on Him!  I love it!  A few we've been experiencing lately are a moose cow and calf in the meadow behind our house every morning, vibrant aurora (one good thing about waking up in the middle of the night!) and the fact that the sun is hitting our house again!  Oh, hint of glorious summer!  I've started planning out my garden and even bought a new swim suit!  One thing about these long Fairbanks winters is that they really help you to treasure the summers!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's 2012

I'm not usually much of a decorator, but since I had these hearts from Fynn's last photo session, I decided to put them to use!  Makes it awful cheery, I might have to take up this seasonal decoration thing.

Our dear chickens have been such good layers, despite our Fairbanks winter.  I love getting eggs every day and being able to share them, but I especially like to be able to bake with them at home.  So I'm always excited to find recipes calling for lots of eggs.  Last night I made our tried and true Quick Quiche, a recipe from my mom that I've tweaked slightly over the years.

6 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp basil
1-2 c. shredded cheese
1 can crescent roll dough
1 cup cooked meat (sausage, bacon, or ham)
Veggies as desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a greased pie plate with the dough, pinching together the seams.
Spread cheese over dough, then layer the meat and veggies if using.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and seasonings before pouring on top of the meat.  Line edges with aluminum foil to prevent edges from burning.  Bake for 1 hour and enjoy! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Permanent Marker Removal

Oh that dog!  Clancey is loved but sometimes drive me crazy!  He found a permanent marker during Fynn's nap today, so I found this lovely orange stain some time later:

Inspired by Mrs. Treadway (find her awesome blog "When Life Happens" here) and her couch cleaning method, I decided to post my handy fix for this kind of incident here.  This is not the first time we've had awful pen stains. 

I'm not one to use any products on my hair.  Not that I'm against it by any means, I just don't find the need (or time! =)  but I keep a small canister on hand for situations such as these.  That's it really.  I soaked the stain down with a generic hairspray, then scrubbed with a damp washcloth: gone!  I love it!

Friday Fun Finds: Toddler Rules of Ownership

*Note: This was not made by me, but I am unaware of who to credit!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Peculiar Poultry Predicament

What an unusual winter!  We just got out of a 2 month stretch of really cold (I'm guessing we averaged 25 below for that length) and now it's above freezing!  Most lower 48-ers might think that's a good thing, but here it's dreaded in the winter.  Thawing snow and ice means that the roads get slicker than snot and all the melting turns into a big mess, then when it freezes again, you have all the bad ice to worry about.  I consider myself blessed to be able to stay at home today, but I find myself with my own set of challenges accompanying this heat wave.   The ice and snow have apparently cracked the caulking around our chimney, so we're getting some leaking with the melting roof snow there.

And then there's my chickens.  Oh, I am learning so much with these girls this year!  I had been attempting the deep litter method with them (see this article), but with this thaw came an awful stench in there coop!  So I started digging it all out (I couldn't before as the lower layers were completely frozen) and unearthed at least a half dozen eggs.  Apparently, during our really cold months, they had buried some of their eggs (normal chicken behavior?)  The eggs then froze, cracking the shell.  And now these eggs were rotten and thawing--yuk!  I got it all cleaned up now, but what an ordeal.  I think I'm going to have to adjust my game plan for next year.

Proverbs 12: 10a " A righteous man cares for the needs of his animals"  I love that God chose to include this in His Word!  He did give us dominion over His creatures and I think that's a great commission.  Obviously I don't believe this means we shouldn't hunt or butcher, but that we should not be cruel to the critters we come across or choose to care for.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lullaby, Take One

I love the sleepy day after a day of work.  I got some chores done, but I just cherish snuggling with my little baby after a day apart.  There were a couple days last week when he was really fighting sleep and my mind started thinking in Dr. Seuss rhymes as I tried to get him to sleep.  I shared this with Josh the next day, he put it to music, and I think we have the beginnings of a  lullaby.  Tell me what you think:

O Lord, bless my sweet child,
a night without fears,
And guardian angels,
hovering near,

To keep far at bay,
The woes of the night,
And speckle sweet dreams,
with beauty and joy and light.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala & More Birthday Shenanigans

I love to celebrate when we can.  So in addition to this fine dinner out with my boys, we had some extras this weekend. 

So for the weekend celebration of Josh’s birthday we went down town to watch the mushers take off for the Yukon Quest (much less known, but more treacherous than the Iditarod.)  And I didn’t bring my camera!  Argh!  What was I thinking!?!?

Okay, I’m done kicking myself, I guess.  Dinner was amazing if I don’t say so myself.  Josh requested our favorite dish about a week in advance: Chicken Tikka Masala.  There are no Indian restaurants for about 350 miles, thus I have been more adventurous in attempting the recipes myself.  Let me tell you though, to get it right, it takes time.  A lot of time.  The previous recipe I tried for this dish took three days to make.  Still worth it!  This one need to start the night before, but just to let the chicken marinade.  Anyway, here’s how it went:

The night before:

Chicken Tikka:
1-2 cups plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1/4-1 tsp cayenne (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

4-5 chicken breasts, cubed

Stir all ingredients except chicken into the bottom of a large plastic container. Add the chicken and coat the chicken completely with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. 

Okay, then morning of:

1 can 16 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can 5.5 oz tomato paste
2 inches fresh ginger or 1 Tbsp ground
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp of lemon juice)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried coriander

1 cup cream
Fresh cilantro, chopped (great flavor in the stems, too!)

As needed:
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala

Turn your oven to broil. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack over top. Spread the chicken with the marinade on the baking sheet and place on the baking rack under the broiler and broil on each side about 10 minutes. You don't have to worry about cooking the meat all the way through; you are just looking for a nice browned color.

While the chicken is broiling, in a pan over medium high heat, add about a tsp or two of oil. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a few more minutes until the mixture is nice and fragrant. Place the mixture into your crockpot.

 To that, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garam masala,curry, lemon juice, tikka paste, cumin, chili powder and coriander. Stir together. When the chicken is done broiling, add them straight to the slow cooker. Slow cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.

(my little helper:)

Then stir in the 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala and salt if it needed to enhance the flavor.  Before serving stir in cream and top with fresh cilantro.  I don't have a picture of my finished product, because I forgot to take one.  I was just so excited to start eating.  But heres what it looked like (from here)

Except here's the way to eat it.  Pit the Tikka Masala in it's own bowl.  I cook up some brown rice on the side. 

But mostly you're going to be scooping up the chunks with garlic naan. Great recipe here

We drank orange pineapple juice (the closest thing we hand to a Mango Lassi) and Monkey bread for dessert.  Because monkeys are kinda Indian, right!  Happy birthday again, my dear!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Josh's Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband!  Can I brag him up just a little bit?  Besides being incredibly handsome, he is so good to Fynn and I!  He works so hard so I can take care of our little guy at home!  He is a great provider, yet still makes it clear that his family comes before his work.  And he loves God and we have the blessing of being able to be growing in our faith together.  He's funny and puts up with all my weird quirks!  And he makes a mean chicken taco.  I could go on all day!  He's working up at the mine today, but we're going out to dinner tonight, then I wrote him a note with some of his favorite candies I got at the store yesterday.  Here are a few excerpts:

You are such a handsome

Your love makes me want to do 
or blast off into
In fact, our life really

Even if we hit a

I know we'll be just fine,

You mean more to me than silver or

This was so fun to try to piece together!  I think I'm going to tweak it to use again in the future...