We Love Muffins

Picky pants Lucille has been on a muffin kick lately, so though I’ve never been a baker, I’ve been brave and tried a few recipes. We’ve loved them, so I thought I’d share.

In addition to the massive amounts of leftover baby oatmeal I have from my struggles of trying to get Lennon to eat solids, I have some pureed baby food stashed away too. I don’t think they’ll save until baby #3 is ready for solids, and even if they did, I’m planning to do 100% baby led weaning next time around, so… my first attempt at muffins were these baby food muffins. It says to use pureed fruit but I do fruits and veggies. One of the only ways I can get Lucille to eat veggies. These have been her favorite muffins so far! Which is great because I’m sure they’re the healthiest. Though I’m now out of baby food… but I’m sure I can just puree my own stuff up and substitute it.

For Easter I made these SUPER delicious Maple Mixed Berry Muffins!! I loved them. One tip: When she says to coat the muffin pan with non stick spray, do it! Don’t do what I did and just stick in some paper liners. you’ll loose a lot of good muffin that way!

Peter’s favorite of my muffin attempts has been these Berry-Smash Muffins that I made when I bought too many strawberries.

Also, not muffins, but we baked these Oatmeal cookies about a month ago and they were super good too! And easy. And per usual I substituted some of the oats with baby oatmeal.




Return from Vacation

Last month we took a nine day, eight night vacation. We went to Ann Arbor, Michigan, visited family just outside of Madison, Wisconsin and on the way home stopped in Elkhart, Indiana. We had so much fun! It was a lot of driving, which Lennon didn’t love. (But he must not have been too scarred because the kids have been playing “road trip” for the past two days which means I open all the doors in the van and they run around inside it and pretend to go to castles and zoos and such.) And if I was doing it again I’d maybe plan it just one day shorter, because by the last day we were just too tired to think of things to do. But honestly, it was one of the best times of my life.

My mom came with us. Besides enjoying her company, having her along is great because she takes constant pictures. I thought I’d post some… it’s so hard to pick, but I’ll try to limit myself.

We loved the Hands on Museum in Ann Arbor!

Hotel pools were one of the highlights of our trip for the kids

Farmers market in Madison. Lulu loved Wisconsin cheese!

The capital building in Madison is GORGEOUS!

Madison has a great zoo!!! And it’s free!

Beautiful Botanical Gardens in Elkhart!

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens in Elkhart was so fun, pretty and HUGE!

My uncle and aunt have lived in Wisconsin for 14 years, so for half my life I’ve only gotten to see them once or twice a year when they come back this way. Though I’ve always loved them, I now feel closer to them than ever before. And I feel like my kids finally know them. I am so grateful for them for allowing us to stay with them for 4 days, they were great hosts. And the kids loved their dog, Gracie.

Lulu and Gracie

Besides having so much fun, being on vacation helped me to refocus my priorities. My kids have always been my top priority, but it’s so easy throughout the day to get sidetracked doing house work and work for the radio station. At the end of too many days I’ve forgotten to take the time to enjoy them. I’ve told them to wait far too often while I sent an email or folded laundry. Being on vacation I didn’t have those distractions. And since coming back I’ve become better at not giving into them.

Yes, my station work still needs to be done, and my house work does too. But I’ve learned that if I hang out with my kids when they want me too, they do eventually get sick of me. And I slip away when they’re playing together or independently without requesting me to join in. I actually get everything done quicker when I wait for them to allow me to do it. I’m not going back and forth between momming and working, and my mind is focused on my work not feeling guilty about the screaming child in the background.

Some days they want to play with me all day and those days the house only gets dirtier and I fall behind at my job. But sometime over the course of the next couple days, I catch up!

I hope I can keep this vacation mind set going. Right before vacation I also read two parenting books that I think helped me realize the need to live in the moment. (I think I’ll do another post soon with book recommendations. Both parenting books and books for pleasure.) The combination of these books and vacation was the medicine I needed. Now bring on summer, because this family is enjoying life to the fullest!!

Best friends, on vacation, and wherever they go!!




Name of the Day: Wilfred

Frederick used to be one of our favorite boy names until I realized I dislike it with our surname. And hubby agreed. But Wilfred would still allow the adorable nickname Freddie (which I think is a cute nickname for a girl too!), and the more I think about it, I think I like it even more than Frederick. I’m not crazy about the Rick part of Frederick, but I quite like the Wil part of Wilfred. Wil is a very handsome nickname and I’ve never understood why so many Williams go by Bill when Will is so much more sophisticated. Wilfy is another cute nickname.

Meaning desiring peace, Wilfred is a well known name, rarely used in the states. Throughout history, however, there have been many famous Wilfreds. Wilfred Greatorex was an accomplished television writer, several athletes also bear the name and Wilfred the Hairy was a count in modern day Spain back in the 800s.

Wilfred Gordon Bigelow was a heart surgeon who helped to create the artificial pacemaker and introduced the use of hypothermia in open heart surgery. Through both of these, Bigelow is responsible for saving countless lives!

Wilfred Trotter was another notable in the medical field. An outstanding surgeon, he was also very interested in the field of psychology. His major psychological works involved herd theory, and he was actually a big influencer of Wilfred Bion, who we will learn about in the next paragraph. He was also one of the first few people to see the genius of Sigmund Freud. As a surgeon he was both the surgeon of King George V and the person whom Freud himself turned to when he had terminal cancer.

Wilfred Bion was a very well-known and influential psychoanalyst who has been said to be the greatest mind known to psychology other than Freud. He was unafraid to do things differently and because of this was able to develop many new theories helping us to understand psychology, most notably relating to: our ability to learn from experience, group dynamics, how treatment during infancy affects an individual’s view on people and things during their adult years, and factors that push and pull individuals toward crime.

Wilfred Pickles was an English actor and radio celebrity. (We all know I love a good radio namesake!) He is best known for his radio show “Have a Go”, which co-starred his wife Mabel. The first radio game show in England, Mr. And Mrs. Pickles traveled the UK asking trivia questions to those they met and allowing them to win cash prizes. The show lasted 21 years and had a weekly audience of 20 million. Not only a symbol of success in the arts, Wilfred and Mabel are also a symbol of a loyal, everlasting love.

Wilfred Owen is credited as the greatest poet during the first World War. As a soldier he was relieved of duty after suffering serious injury, but despite the wish of those closest to him, enlisted again after he was healed. This decision was fatal, he was killed in action 1 week before the end of the war. His early life, under his mother’s influence, he was a devout member of the Church of England, but while attending university became upset by the church’s unwillingness to help those that needed it. This and his experience in the army were extremely influential on his poetry, which originally was influenced by romantic poets such as Keats and Shelley.

Wilfred Johnson was a Mafia enforcer turned FBI informant. He grew up with an alcoholic, abusive father, sometimes absent mother and a habit for getting in trouble at school. Eventually his rough life led him to organized crime, but while behind bars, those that claimed to provide for his family did not live up to their promise. This eventually made him switch his loyalty to the FBI. Once his cover was blown, the FBI wanted to put him in the witness protection program but he refused, leading to his murder. Though his story has a sad ending, I think his is a story that shows no matter what your past, you can still turn your life around.

Wilfred Wood is the name of both a Victoria Cross recipient and the first black bishop in England. Soldier Private Wood fought in the first World War and without any orders embarked on a mission that caused 140 enemies to surrender. Bishop Wood was influential not just within the Church of England but also helped raise awareness of racial issues and help unite the masses and bring equality throughout the country. In 2004 the public voted him the 2nd most influential black Briton in the nation’s history.

On the opposite end of the religious spectrum, Wilfred Cantwell Smith is a scholar, professor and author on religious studies most known for The Meaning and End of Religion in which Smith investigates how religions started, changed over time and what they mean to those practicing today. Very controversial but in my opinion very interesting and informative.

Sir Wilfred Stokes was made a knight for his invention of the Stokes Mortar, the first portable mortar, used a great deal in WWI. Any one else notice a lot of these Wilfreds are Englishmen during the first World war? Wilfred Thesiger was also made a knight, many years later in 1995. He was a travel writer, well known for his two books, Arabian Sands and The Marsh Arabs.

Wilfred originated from the name Wilfrid and I’m not even going to research those that had that name because, well, the above list is probably already more than anyone wants to read. My last reason for enjoying the name is it’s the name of a show that Peter and I enjoyed watching together. The title character is a dog, so, I admittedly wasn’t sure this was a positive association at first. But now that I know of so many great human nonfiction Wilfreds, I do not as strongly associate it with the dog character. And the show is HILARIOUS!




Baby Bea Sees The World

I think as a mother of one I was pretty oblivious to how easy it was to continue prioritizing my personal priorities. Having a child is a lot of work and a huge responsibility, but when there’s just one, there are so many situations where you can live life as usual with a baby on your hip and a smile on your face. With two… you’re outnumbered, you have to accommodate for two separate sets of needs (not including your own) and a lot of times, it’s just easier to stay home and place your desires on the back burner. Travel is one such situation that was slightly more complicated when Lucille came into the world, but seemed down right impossible, miserable, foolish, selfish, etc once Lennon entered the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying those with kids shouldn’t travel. Quite the opposite, really. I think it’s very important my kids see as much of the world as possible, learn about other cultures and ways of life so they can be understanding of differences and so we can have fun outside our comfort zone. Travelling with my children is one of the things I most look forward to as well as one of the things I think will be most important in our lives. But for the past two years… it was a personal priority that both kids were too young to understand or benefit from. Because they are so close in age, neither were old enough to understand why it’s a benefit to be in a car or plane for so long… and really, it wouldn’t be a benefit to them. Sure, they’d enjoy a zoo on vacation, but not more then the one we only have to travel an hour to get to. We’d be taking the trips so I could see someplace new, making them miserable in the process as they fed off each others misery.

Anywho, I think the kids are now old enough to enjoy a vacation!! And I am soooo excited (and somewhat nervous) to be taking a 9 day road trip starting next week!!! And in my excitement I thought I’d throw back to when Lucille took her first vacation to Connecticut and her 2nd to Florida! Back when I thought I’d keep the tradition of at least one annual trip… but I also thought babies 1 and 2 would be about 2.5 years apart… haha! (All but one of these pictures are from Connecticut… I can’t find my Florida pictures anywhere, I don’t want to talk about it!)

 




Lemon Honey Rosemary Ham And Veggies

In case you read this post about my glaze I made for ham steak and thought my cooking couldn’t get lazier… here I am to prove you wrong. I included veggies in this recipe so I didn’t have to cook them separately. All I used was:

  • Honey
  • Lemon Rosemary Seasoning
  • Ham Steak
  • Bag of Cauliflower and Broccoli

I preheated the oven to 350, and dumped the veggies into a casserole dish, sprinkling them with lemon rosemary seasoning. Then I put the ham on top and squirted a bit of honey on the ham, spreading it evenly on the top of the steak. Sprinkled the ham with the same seasoning and baked it for 15-20 minutes. Then I stirred the veggies, flipped the ham, and covered the other side with honey and lemon rosemary seasoning. Baked another 15-20 minutes. All done.




Name of the Day: Winifred

I don’t think there’s any hope of selling this name to Peter, I’ve brought it up in the past. But I think it’s beautiful and adorable, one of my very very favorites! So, I’m going to try.

Derived from Gwenfrewi, it means blessed peace or reconciliation. I love the nicknames Winnie, Freddie or just Win or Fred! It has a lot of pop culture associations including characters in Hocus Pocus, Tuck Everlasting, Angel, Once Upon A Mattress, Mary Poppins, Jungle Book, and more. Through these associations, it is a name most are familiar with, though probably most don’t personally know a Winifred.

According to the legend of Saint Winifred, when Winifred decided to become a nun she had a suitor. When she told him of her choice, he decapitated her. Of course, her head was reattached, her attacker swallowed by the ground and she went on to do lots of great deeds. This tale makes her the patron saint of unwanted advances… which I think is pretty powerful!

Winifred Brunton was an artist known best for the pieces she made depicting Egyptian pharaohs. This is because her and her husband went on archaeological digs and she based her art of the ruins that they found, making her artwork more realistic than anything seen before on the subject.

Winifred Atwell was a pianist from Trinidad that had great success in the UK and Australia. She was without question the most successful pianist of her time, which is all the more impressive considering she was a black woman. Unfortunately for us in the states, she was never well known here. She was supposed to appear on the Ed Sullivan show, but producers thought the audience would be confused by a British sounding black woman and never recorded the segment (though she did fly in for it). Despite this, Winifred claimed to have not suffered from racism in her own life, but was very outspoken about the issue in society. Particularly, she spoke about the treatment of the aborigines in Australia, the place she called home later in life. She also donated her time and talents to charity concerts to help the needy and orphanages.

Winifred Maxwell was an aristocrat who saved her husband from the death sentence. The guards let her in to say goodbye on the night before his execution, she dressed him in woman’s clothing and escaped. I think that tale is a great example of bravery and love!

Other famous Winifreds include a silent film star, the first woman to earn a PhD in mathematics, several writers, one of the founders of modern speech therapy, educators, politicians and more. It’s a magical name, and if you’re reading this and considering naming your daughter Winifred, please do it!




Stupid Things I Feel Guilty About

My whole life I’ve been really critical of myself. I blame myself for things far too often and for far too long. And then I became a Mom, and now there are two little babies I love more than anything who are influenced by every action and decision I make… holy, pressure!

You can’t stop mom guilt completely. By the end of the day I’ve probably lost my temper at one or both of the kids multiple times, which I will beat myself up for as I try to sleep. I’ll constantly question if I’m feeding them a balanced enough diet. The list goes on and on… and to an extent it’s a good thing. I’m glad I’m conscious about what I feed them and being patient with them. But there are some things I feel guilty about that are so ridiculous. And I need to let them go. They include:

  • Not enjoying my pregnancies
  • Not having them naturally
  • Not staying home with Lucille in her first year
  • Not sending them to daycare to get better socialized
  • Not pumping enough when I returned to work for Lucille to be exclusively breastfed
  • Not trying harder to get my breastmilk supply back when I got pregnant with Lennon and Lucille was only 8 months old
  • Breastfeeding Lennon so much that he still depends on it for comfort at 20 months old
  • Spending too much money on clothes for Lucille as some outfits only get worn a couple times
  • Not spending hardly and money on clothes for Lennon and letting him live in hand me downs from my bff’s 3 boys and my sister’s two boys (it’s a ridiculous amount of hand me downs!!! I’m so grateful!)
  • Not enrolling them in swim class the past several months
  • Not spending enough time with them on learning activities
  • Not having a nice kitchen that we can enjoy better as a family

As you may have noticed, many of these items directly contradict other items. I feel guilty about sending Lucille to daycare and guilty about taking her out… that doesn’t make sense! Sure, it’d be great to send them a few hours a couple days a week, for social interaction, so they’re used to being away from me, so I can get stuff accomplished… but it’s not a financial possibility right now, nor is a new kitchen. Some day we’ll get a new kitchen and we can bake and cook together more often, it’s a super high priority of mine and the reason I still work part time, so that we can afford the project someday… but we’re not there yet. That reminds me of two more things I feel guilty about:

  • Spending too much time working during the day instead of playing with them
  • Not working more so we have more money

Again, contradictions! We can’t have it all. We just need to do the best we can and feel confident that it’s enough. Because it is.  Do I wish Lucille and I worked on her numbers more? Yes, I do. But Lennon gets bored and throws any learning tools we have and it just doesn’t happen.. and at this age, I think it’s more important that her and her brother are both having fun. What’s the worst that’ll happen? She could get to pre-school knowing less than the rest of the class… yeah, that would stink. But she’ll learn once she’s in pre-school, surrounded by kids her age who are ready to learn. In the end, it’ll be fine.

And feeling guilty about not enjoying my pregnancies like some women do… why? I don’t think my kids will hold it against me when they find out I didn’t like pregnancy. I think they’ll understand that it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re puking several times a day for 9 months. (For the record there were things I loved about pregnancy, like feeling baby kicks and baby hiccups. There was just so much I didn’t enjoy that over all it wasn’t my favorite and is something I’m not looking forward to repeating.)

So there it is, the things I’m letting go of, not letting myself feel any more negative emotions towards. And I’m sure there will be a sequel to this post, because guilt isn’t something you should collect. It’s something you should learn from and then set free.




Buffalo Chicken Salad

1st of all, I never want to have salad as a main course. If I’m being honest, I usually don’t even want salad as an appetizer. But that’s largely because of my hatred for iceberg lettuce… still, even with romaine or spinach, it’s unlike me to make salad into a meal. But I went a little crazy buying veggies so I thought I’d try it one night. Peter didn’t seem excited and I wasn’t either. But surprisingly both of us loved it and Peter agreed I need to make this dinner more often. I used:

8 oz fresh romaine lettuce

1 peeled and cubed cucumber

1 cubed red pepper

1 cubed tomato

4 oz cubed mozzarella cheese

3/4 pound of cubed chicken

a couple squirts of Sweet Baby Ray’s Creamy Buffalo Dipping Sauce

I squirted the dipping sauce into a frying pan and cooked the chicken in it. Combined everything else in a bowl and then dumped the chicken and tiny bit of extra sauce right in. I thought about adding some dressing, but honestly, it was totally unnecessary. And this made SO MUCH salad. We had a lot leftover. So feel free to cut back the amounts I used… or just feed more people with it.

I think my next family function I’m going to volunteer to make this and people can eat it as an appetizer. Yum!

 




3 Years!!

Lucille turned 3 last week. She woke up sick that morning, so it was a difficult day. It broke my heart to see my always happy and energetic love bug lethargic and unable to enjoy a celebration. She told me her mouth hurt, but she also puked. My poor girl!! We spent all day snuggled on the couch watching Sofia the First, Trolls and her newest obsession, Frozen! Though I would have preferred to take her out to the special birthday lunch we had planned, it was nice to have a full day of snuggling.

By evening she was back to her silly, joyful self and I was so grateful. I’m so obsessed with the tiny person she has become. I know I tend to go on and on about what a loving soul she is, but every day it becomes more and more so. The way she treats me, Peter and her brother so lovingly is just the tip of the iceberg. She treats everyone and everything with such kindness. I love watching her delicately care for our animals and her dolls. When she plays with her little people and similar toys she has them interact with each other so nicely. Complimenting each other, hugging, kissing, playing games. I’ve watched so many kids play with these kinds of toys and just constantly have them fight. But fighting isn’t who she is.

I love to watch her interests develop. As you’ve probably gathered from the post about her birthday cake, she loves unicorns. She’s also obsessed with mermaids and loves playing doctor. Her love for making and dancing to music continue, and her comedy routine is growing. She thinks herself to be a fashion expert…. maybe she’s just ahead of her time. Recently she’s also developed a love for photography.

Rockin a pink jacket, pink skirt, pink socks, a striped purse and… a Halloween headband!

Rockin’ that same pink skirt (it gets a lot of use), a purple skirted top with stars, yellow leggings, mismatched trolls socks, and a leopard print with hearts belt!

I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since Lucille came into my world and made me a mommy. I love who she is right now and I wish I could just stop time and enjoy her this way forever… but I would have said the same thing 1, 2, even 3 years ago. And then I wouldn’t have known the spunky little toddler she is today. So, keep growing baby girl. I can’t wait to see who you become and I’ll always treasure the memories of who you once were.




Name of the Day: Camilla

 

Well known in many cultures, but not terribly popular, Camilla is gorgeous without being overly frilly. Nicknames Milly and Cammie are sweet and feminine, while Cam is spunky and masculine. Milla and Mila make cute nicknames too.

Many people will associate this name with the Dutchess of Cornwall, for better or worse, but the truth is it had a long history before her. However, let’s focus on her first. Princess Diana was very loved around the world and as a result many see Camilla as the floozy other woman. I do not in ANY way approve of married couples having affairs, however, I think it’s very clear that the relationship between Charles and Camilla was quite complicated, as was the one with Charles and Diana. They all live in a very different world than I do, a world obsessed with social class, riches and the accomplishments of everyone’s ancestors. A world where, sadly, I don’t think marriage is often a result of love, but being a good fit in terms of boosting one’s social image or increasing one’s wealth… maybe that was Charles and Diana’s marriage, and maybe him and Camilla were truly in love. I don’t know. I’m not going to pretend to. I really don’t care too much about the royal family… but I will say that Camilla has done quite lot in terms of raising awareness for issues such as rape and poverty. And generally I approve of those who use their social influence to help the less fortunate.

Camilla Collett is considered the first Norwegian feminist. She believed women should have more roles in society, be prepared for success beyond an arranged marriage, should have a say in their own future and allowed to marry for love. These things may seem pretty obvious now but were radical ideas in the 1800s when she wrote of them, which is why she had to do so anonymously. I think she sounds like a total badass. (Funny how her beliefs can be related back to the Dutchess, yes?)

Camilla has not one but two strong literary associations. First she was a warrior in the Latin epic poem Aeneid. Raised by her father in the woods surrounded by shepherds, she was a huntress and another badass woman. She ran so fast that she didn’t break a blade of grass and could run across water without getting her feet wet.

In 1796 Frances Burney published Camilla:  A Picture of Youth. I haven’t researched much about this book because I want to read it and I didn’t want to accidentally stumble upon spoilers, but I think it is a love story and also a story about friendship and sisterhood. If I’m right it adds to the romantic vibe I get from this name.

So there you have it, totally badass, totally romantic, pretty and cute too! Camilla is an A+ in my book!