Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St Patty's Day

Happy St Patty's Day! (I cannot over look that today is also Sunday, so more importantly... Happy Lord's Day!)

As a half Irish lass who attended a Catholic school in Philadelphia as a girl, I recall these yummy treats being brought into school around this time of year. Thankfully, I have found the recipe which I have now made a part of our family tradition.

I made these the proper way with cream cheese and butter. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm eating dairy free right now, so I can't actually enjoy this batch. :(

Of course, after I was done making them I found a different similar recipe which doesn't use any dairy products. Oh well, maybe next year (or next week!).

Have a sweet St Patty's Day!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Copycat Chick-Fil-A (gluten and dairy free)

Since our son, Zachary was a couple of months old, I've been gluten and dairy free. He has become much less fussy, his bowel movements were more "normal" and his spit up became manageable.

I've missed Chick-Fil-A sandwiches since then. I haven't eaten them much, considering my one son is on a gluten free diet, but on occasion, I just missed them.

I do love the taste of their original chicken sandwich, but I don't like the fact that they have MSG as an ingredient. Boo!

So, I was elated when I googled "copycat Chick-Fil-A sandwich" and I found one! I put it on the menu to serve on my son's 4th birthday.

I had to adjust a few things in order for the whole family to be able to eat it. Everyone loved it.

The tricky parts:
  • Make sure the chicken is thin enough, so it can be deep fried in a short time.
  • Try to keep your oil at the right temp (I had a difficult time with this one!)
Please enjoy this recipe which is adapted from Pocket Change Gourmet.

Gluten and Dairy Free Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of pickle juice (key ingredient)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp each: paprika and salt
  • 1/2 tsp each: black pepper, garlic powder, celery seed and parsley
  • oil for frying
Slice each chicken breast into two (or more) thin slices. To do this, imagine laying the chicken flat as though it were a circle cake layer. Slice it in half as though you were making the cake into two thin cake layers (not two half circles).

Place the chicken in a 9x13" dish and cover with pickle juice. Refrigerate for 45 minutes, then let sit on countertop for 15 minutes.

Beat the eggs with soy milk in bowl. In a separate bowl combine flours, sugar and seasonings.

Blot the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Dip in egg mixture then flour mixture.

Heat enough oil to just about cover chicken in pan to 345-350 degrees F. Fry each piece for around 2 minutes on each side. Don't be afraid to cut into the chicken to check for doneness... its better than serving raw chicken! The outside can look done, while the inside is still pink.

Serves 8


Sunday, March 10, 2013

6 activities for your 6-month-old

When Zachary turned 6 months (about a month ago!), I noticed that he didn't sleep as much during the day. He gets bored if you don't do anything with him and I want to keep him occupied.

Here is a list of things that have kept him happy. Most of these need parent involvement, so, unfortunately, I haven't come up with a way for you to get stuff done. I'm still trying to figure that one out myself!

 1. Play ball Big brother, Ian likes to roll a ball to Zachary. Mostly the baby just chews on it once he's got it, but he does like this game. If your baby isn't sitting that well yet, he can still play while you hold him.

2. Shadows When the bright sun comes streaming through the windows, it leaves lots of fun shadows for the baby. He likes watching his own hand or mine. He even likes watching the reflection that my computer makes on the ceiling!

3. Small Bangs I like to give Zachary a Duplo in each hand. He has fun chewing on them and more importantly banging them together to make a fun sound. It can be two of anything safe and he's content. Such a simple joy!

4. Exersaucer I'm not really into buying things that won't be used for long and things that are technically unnecessary, but this toy center is wonderful. Zachary loves to spin himself and play with the different things all around him. Sometimes I'll put Duplos or balls around the edge for him to play with. This also helps his legs get stronger. (This is the one activity that allows mom to get a thing or two done!)

5. Turned off Kindle  This is probably Zachary's favorite activity. He loves to look at himself and me from my Kindle when its turned off. Of course a mirror would be just as fun, but we don't have a handheld one (I don't see it as a necessity, so I don't ever buy one!).

6. Thomas When all else fails bring out Thomas. I bought this that from GoodWill that same fateful day I bought the eye popping toy. It was $3.71 and in perfect condition. How could I pass that up?! (I know he is sitting by himself in this picture, but whenever he's on it I am always holding him.) He likes to hit the buttons, which make sounds. He also likes to have me hold him while he stands and holds the back. Or he'll sit next to it and play with the wheels. So, even if you don't have a Thomas, I'm sure there are things you can find that your baby can bang buttons on, or hold on to while standing up or spin wheels on!

What kind of activities does your 6 month old enjoy? I could also add music, chewing Pappa's watches and eating to this list. :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Seeded Playdough

We've been taking things super easy around here since over half of us have been recovering from the flu.

Ian has not been sick, so I wanted to have something fun for him to play with. I came across an easy no cook playdough from Teach Preschool. I halved the recipe and left it uncolored.... I kind of like the looks of it.

For "add-ins" I provided mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fennel, white rice and cloves. These are all things that we keep in our house. (They do indeed have an Indian father!)

 "Mommy, what's this?"
"A clove."

I didn't expect this to turn into a learning activity, but he did learn a few things.

I taught him how to knead dough.

I must say that the seeds don't really stick into the dough all that well, but we still had fun playing.

It didn't take long for the cookie cutters to come out and the rolling pin and some plastic knives and even his sisters came out of hiding and played. :)

The recipe:
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbs cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbs oil
Mix together and knead until dough forms.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Breastfeeding and Medicine

Does that look like the face of a happy, healthy boy to you? Poor guy has a fever... and so does mommy!

In our house, when fevers strike, the first reaction is to treat it with tylenol or motrin. Easy enough, right?

In order to make the correct decision I had to call the doctor. Can I give motrin to Zachary and take motrin myself? Would the baby get too much medicine from his dose, plus what he gets from my milk?

Her answer: Its fine for both of us to take the same medicine, just don't give him more than he should have.

Hopefully this will be useful to you one day or even more hopefully, you'll never be in this situation.

I'm sure you'll want to double check with your doctor if you ever find yourself in this scenario. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

February update

I'm not sure why life doesn't stop for a while on occasion, in order for me to catch up with everything, but it doesn't. Here is a peek into the last few weeks of our lives.

 Seth and his friend with their boat.

One of the big highlights of 2nd grade at our kids' school is the boat regatta! They learn about boats. Then, using fake money, they buy supplies to build their own. Parents come in for the race to see which team build the fastest boat.

Seth and his friend did great with their boat "Skylander".

(don't mind Seth's hair, that day also happened to be crazy hair/hat day!)

 Patricia turned six! We went to a restaurant to celebrate, then came home for cake.

I will not show you a close up picture of my cookie monster cupcakes, because it is already an established fact that I cannot decorate food. But here is the original picture if you want to give it a go.

 We took a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium in order to study coral.

Science projects are quickly coming up and coral is the topic that Tabitha picked.

Multicultural day is also coming up at school. The kids had to decorate paper dolls showing one of their nationalities.

Patricia and Tabitha chose India and Seth, Ireland.

The school Valentine's parties came and went. I had big plans of the kids making homemade Valentines, but that never happened. So, they went in with store bought cards... they also received a lot of store bought cards and candy!

This is Tabitha's monster. This was also an idea from Pinterest, but alas, it falls far short of its model.

For Valentine's supper, I made heart shaped hamburgers. Sorry I don't have an after cooked picture, but you'll have to trust me that they still looked like hearts. :)

I also made heart shaped carrots like from this Pinterest idea, but would you believe they didn't come out as pretty as the picture??!! Yeah, I don't believe it either. :)

Patricia had her 100th day of school! Yippee! The teacher gave each child a visor to decorate with 100 items. I picked up some spiral confetti for Patricia. I liked one of her classmate's, which had 100 random things attached including part of a broken necklace, a key and a used stamp.

This was a nice easy activity for the kids. When Tabitha was in kindergarten she was able to do anything she wanted. So for that she tried on 100 outfits... you can read about it here.

So, that's what's been going on in our household. How about you?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Mother's Love

You know that strong feeling of love that you experience when you first have a baby? Sometimes its hard to remember that feeling, especially when that baby grows older and always seems to get in trouble.

Sometimes you go to bed feeling guilty that you weren't able to express your love as much as you would've liked to.

Sometimes you wonder if maybe you don't love your child(ren) enough. Well, at least that's how I feel on occasion.

The other night I was asleep when I woke up to these words, "Mommy can you turn that off?" I heard every single word Ian said, even though he was still lying in his bed.

What struck me as so odd, was the alarm clock. He was asking me to turn it off and I realized it had been buzzing for over a half an hour.

Why didn't I wake up to the sound of the alarm? Why did Ian's voice rouse me from my sleep so easily?

It immediately made me think of that bond I experienced with my newborns. The sense that I knew I would be willing to die for this child.

The feelings aren't always as strong, but the love is.

Its the close of Valentine's day right now. A day when everyone celebrates their love for each other. A day of sharing feelings. Loving feelings are nice, but I'm so thankful that they are not what love consists of.

Love is an action word. It is a daily giving of yourself for another.

Thinking of it in this light helps me appreciate the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for me. He loved me unto death. And He did that for me despite all my sin!

These thoughts encourage me on in giving and receiving of love.