Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies (can be made gluten free)

Do I hear trumpets in the background? A parade going by? Angels singing a Hallelujah chorus?

Because, seriously, these are good cookies.

Opps! No cookies left to take a picture!
The best part? They can be made gluten free and are just as good as the gluten-filled cookies. I served the gluten-free version to some friends who stopped by yesterday -- who are gluten eaters -- and they thought they were good. And helped themselves to seconds.

It's been awhile since I have personally tasted these cookies with gluten. But, I dream about them they are so yummy.

Annie's Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grab a bag of chocolate chips, an apron from our Trendy Mama, and preheat your ovens to 375.

2/3 cup Crisco
2/3 cup butter (1 stick, plus 3 Tablespoons), softened
(I know, Crisco and butter. These cookies are worth it!)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour (or if you're making GF cookies, use 3 1/2 cups gluten free flour- I used Pamela's baking mix. Add 2 teaspoons xanthan gum to the flour.)
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
12 oz chocolate chips (plus a few for eating and a few more thrown in for good measure)

Cream Crisco, butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla together. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Add chocolate chips gently. Roll dough into small balls and place on an UNGREASED cookie sheet 2'' apart. (I promise, ungreased and far apart.) Bake 3 minutes on the top rack. Place cookie sheet on the bottom rack for another 4 to 5 minutes. (For a total baking time of 7 to 8 minutes.) When you take them out of the oven, they will not look done. But they are. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. If you eat them while they are still hot, they will be gooey in the middle.

Try not to eat them ALL while they are hot.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meet a Mama Monday

Meet Funky Mama
aka Kelsey

Kelsey is a dreamer, an artist, a cryer... 
(the kind that will cry reading this post, or at a Hallmark commercial, or if asked to speak in public)
She's kind and accepting and sentimental.
And she's a good mama to her little Emery.

They are two peas in a pod... easy going, giggly, messy, silly, 
spontaneous, fun, resilient and happy!
Kelsey is an artist and loves art of all styles and mediums.

Jackson Pollock, Monet, Dale Chihuly

She does pen and ink, and paints in oil, acrylic, and... coffee.

(Head on over to her Etsy shop - The Hand Store to see more of her work)

She loves to decorate a cupcake,

or to make baby bows,

or design quilts

or paint letters

But mostly she just makes people smile!

Sunday, August 29, 2010



Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
                                                                        1 Chronicles 16:34

A day of rest. A day of worship. A day of family. 

Please share your piece of God's world with us! 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Homemade Baby Gifts

Clearly, we love babies. We also love making things. So, of course, we love mama-made baby gifts! Babies don't really need a lot: just love, milk, and someplace safe to sleep. But, they sure can use a lot.

Things like: 


burp cloths...


bows & tutus...


(picture forthcoming)

and receiving blankets!

We found this self binding receiving blanket tutorial from Piece N Quilt and couldn't wait to try it out. Now, we can't wait to make more self-binding receiving blankets. (For all my preggo friends out there, yes, you can expect these receiving blankets as gifts. Sorry for ruining the surprise!) 

We made a few modifications. We made ours a little smaller than Piece N Quilt called for- just because that's the amount of fabric we had. She also recommends flannel, but we used seersucker-our favorite! Seersucker is a great weight for receiving blankets- not too heavy, not too light, just perfect to snuggle up that new bundle of joy.  We also top stitched along the edge of the binding and along the edge of the blanket itself to help it maintain its shape through washing. (I'm saying "we" because my sweet little baby was awake and wanting to help while I was making this, so Nana helped out by playing with her while I sewed! It takes a village to raise a child and make a blanket apparently!) 

Didn't it turn out sweet? 

Now, the only thing it needs is a little baby to wrap up!!  

Friday, August 27, 2010

Food has been on my mind lately. Mainly for this reason:

My little six-month old baby is eating real food! This milestone comes, like a lot of things in the world of motherhood, with BIG decisions that must 
be made. 

Serious, life altering, important, world  changing decisions. 

 Should we make our own or purchase baby food? Should we even feed her baby food? How many vegetables do I give her before I introduce fruit? How many days does she eat the same thing before introducing a new food item? How many times a day do we feed her? What about wheat and her risk for celiac (since I have celiac)? 

Perhaps I am over-reacting a bit. Not that I have EVER been known to over-react or over-think anything. 

Okay, maybe I'm an over-reacter/over-thinking just this one thing. Maybe.

After asking about 5 million questions, Nana and my hubby reminded me to relax. Eating solid foods is a natural part of the growth process. The really important part is that I watch her cues and do what she is ready for. The rest is really minor (and the pediatrician can advise us on the celiac stuff). She will be okay whether I feed her organic squash prepared fresh in my kitchen or squash bought at the grocery store in a little glass jar.

I'm pretty sure that since she is sitting up by herself, watching me chew and swallow (and even imitating sometimes), and reaching for my plate that she is ready for solids. (Hubby, Nana, Sisters, Pediatrician, three baby books, and countless websites all confirm this!!!)

You think I'm kidding. I'm not. 

Even though the decisions to be made aren't necessarily earth-changing ones, they are important. Ultimately, we decided to reside in the middle on most things. I make some of her food and buy some organic pre-made food. She hasn't had fruit yet, but that will come when I feel like she's ready for it. There are so many yummy vegetables to try first! And, the doctor is even pretty laid back about celiac. Her body will let us know if something isn't right. 

Maybe the most amazing things about these fragile little creatures that we feel so much responsibility for is that God has designed them to be pretty darn resilient. And, even though they may not be able to tell us in words what they need or want right now, they still tell us in their own way. We just have to watch carefully and pay attention. 

I like peas!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Emery's Quilt

The world is so full of a number of things,
                        I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.
              - Robert Louis Stevenson
                                       Child's Garden of Verses

What could be happier than the arrival of a new baby? And what better way to celebrate than a beautiful, happy quilt like this? When Funky Mama told us she was pregnant with Emery, we were so excited!

Another baby!

More cousins!

Sew... Nana got right to work making a quilt. She knew it had to be a happy quilt. A quilt that was unique. A quilt that sang with joy. Nana was inspired by some of Ashley's beautiful quilts at
Film in the Fridge.

Emery Ryanne's quilt is perfect, isn't it? I love the colors! The greens and oranges mixed with the baby blues and pinks. And the varying sizes make the quilt dance.

This bubbling, happy quilt is perfect for our little bubbling, happy Emery.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Rhubarb- the very name evokes summer for me. Grandma and always grew it in her garden, and I remember eating strawberry-rhubarb pie as a little girl. The tartness of the rhubarb complementing the sweetness of the end of summer strawberries perfectly. It's a delicious tart vegetable - that when cooked, is ice-cream-running-down-your-face yummy. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Rhubarb isn't limited to strawberry-rhubarb pie!

My friends, if you have not mixed rhubarb with another summer fruit, you are missing out.

In early celebration of the transition from summer to fall, we thought some crisp was in order. But not just any crisp. Rhubarb-______ (you pick your fruit) crisp. And what is a fruit dessert without homemade vanilla ice cream? (Or, even better, butter pecan ice cream.) So, friends, add "rhubarb" to your grocery list this week- don't forget the ice cream- and let us know how it turned out!

Rhubarb-Peach Crisp
(thank you Trendy Mama)

6 ripe peaches (or other fruit of your choice. Try apples, plums, raspberries...)
1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped rhubarb

Slice the fruit into bite sized pieces. Mix together. If you are using tart fruit (or just like your crisp sweet), add a tablespoon or two of sugar.

Next, mix:

1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar (or use 1/2 cup honey or other non-sugar sweetener)
1/2 cup flour (if you are gluten free, either omit the flour and add some extra gf oatmeal or use Pamela's pancake mix in place of the flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Then, cut 1 stick of cold butter into the oatmeal mixture. Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture over the top of the sliced fruit.

If you're really feeling daring, drizzle 1/4 cup of melted butter over the top of the oatmeal mixture for an extra carmel crunch.

Bake at 350 for about an hour- or until the fruit is bubbling between the crisp. Let cool a little. (If you can wait that long. If you can't, we understand.) Serve in a bowl with some ice cream!

Check out Simply Sugar and Gluten Free for more really yummy looking goodies!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meet-a-Mama Monday: Hot Mama

Hot Mama
(aka) Linda

Mama to three grown babies, "Mimi" to five grand-babies, and dog-mama to one 
adopted greyhound, Willie.  And Nana's best friend and sister!  
Hot Mama lives life on the go in the HOT Arizona desert.  
She has energy in abundance - not at all a side effect of her love of coffee ; )  
And she uses that energy for sew many fun things!

One of my favorite things she does is make beautiful knit blankets.  She has made one for each of our babies.  And, each of our babies loves their blanket.  It is Emery's favorite blanket to sleep with. She pulls it up to her sweet little face and cuddles with it as she drifts to sleep. Who can blame her? The blankets are each so soft and warm. They simply invite sleep!  She also makes beautiful fluffy baby towels to wrap the little darlings in after a bath. 

Hot Mama also runs around with her adopted greyhound, Willie. You remember how much energy he has!  (Or at least, that's how much energy he has for about 5 seconds out of the hot Arizona day - check it out HERE)  Willie has been a wonderful addition to Hot Mama's family. He is well behaved, sweet, and just a good ole happy dog! Adopting a greyhound was the perfect way for Hot Mama and her hubby to add to their family while also helping a dog in need.

She's just sweet like that!  

 Aunt Linda's blankets and towels are lovely, but more importantly, she has the biggest and most generous heart ever and uses it to love her family and friends.  She throws herself into whatever project she is working on 110%... 
And, because crocheting, sewing, training a dog, being a grandma, and lending a helping hand to everyone isn't enough - in her spare time, Hot Mama is also an amazing cook (of the health conscience variety). And helps her hubby with their family business.  
And farms. 
(facebook farms that is) 


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fun Fabric!!!

Look at this fun Moda fabric!  
We've got a project in in the works!

Don't you just love the name?
"wee woodland"

Purchase some HERE

Friday, August 20, 2010

{ this moment }

{ this moment }

Inspired by Soule Mama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nursing in a wrap

Nana knows best when it comes to all things baby.  Her choice of carrier is no exception.  A Moby wrap, or mama-made wrap (like the one Nana made me), is incredible! First of all, it is beautiful! 

But, more importantly, this carrier wraps your little one to you in such a sweet way.  It's perfect for those first few outings, where the world may seem too harsh and bright and just plain germ-filled for your newborn babe.  You can safely and comfortably bring your baby in toe wherever you go. She stays snuggled up tight to you.  Onlookers can admire from afar - strangers may inexplicably feel comfortable touching your baby in a car-seat carrier, but I can almost guarantee they won't feel as comfortable doing so when you little one is wrapped tightly next to you!

I wear my sweetie around the house quite often.  The allows me two hands to do things with and lets me carry my baby with me wherever I go.

Mamas everywhere who have fallen in love with wraps like this have probably seen pictures of other amazing mamas doing something akin to mama acrobatics with their little one: 

Yes, my friends, you can nurse in a wrap.  It just takes some practice.

It is well worth the time and effort.  Especially when your baby is, oh, say five months old, and is learning to move the nursing cover off of her head or just likes to take a break, look around, and say hi to everyone!

Some tips that worked for me and my little one:

1.  I nurse my sweetie by first wrapping the carrier (or by taking her out of the carrier). (see above)
2.  Then, I take off the shoulder strap on the opposite side that I am going to feed her on.  (I practiced A LOT sitting down first!) You can also nurse with both straps on, but I have a baby who does not like to nurse while being held tightly, so the double strap nursing doesn't work for us (usually).

3. Then, I unhook my nursing bra/shirt or otherwise prepare the area for eating. :)

4.  Next, I hold my baby in a cradle hold for breastfeeding, and take the strap that is still on my shoulder and place her little feet, bum, and back (in that order) through it.

5.  I then spread out the fabric so it covers her bum and back and let her start nursing.

Some adjusting may be necessary, but you should be good to go.  At this point, sometimes I put my other strap back on and bring the fabric across her bum for extra support.

All covered up and modest from all angles...

Feel free to get up and walk around.  You baby can nurse and you can keep shopping doing chores. Hope this helps! If you're still having trouble, feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to offer suggestions!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Hot Mama posted this video of her dog, Willie, the other day.

The joy that is in that doggie as he is running is contagious! It left me thinking:

 What makes me feel like that?

What gives me an extra burst of energy that makes me want to just burst out of my skin I am so glad?

A smile from this girl:


A beautiful piece of fabric:

My girl's hands exploring my face and the smell of her after a bath:

Babies discovering the world:

What brings you joy? (Feel free to leave a link!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet a Mama Monday

Today is our very first Meet a Mama Monday!  How appropriate then to start with the mama who started it all:


also known as: Mom or Tami

I've written a little bit about Nana's many gifts, but it doesn't truly do her justice. As anyone who knows her knows, this woman is amazing!  She raised five kiddos of her own, who all turned out pretty darn good (if I do say so myself).

I often refer to her as, "The Baby Whisperer."  She is a walking encyclopedia of all things maternal.  I noticed it first when I was in high school and my soccer coach was having some complications with pregnancy.  Even though they weren't friends, my mom and her talked for a long time.  I didn't know what, in particular, they talked about, but I knew afterwards, my coach was much more at ease and comfortable. I then noticed how often pregnant women talked to my mom-- people we didn't even know seemed to strike up conversations with Mom in the grocery store and eventually get around to telling her about their pregnancy, and no matter what the worry, by the end of the conversation, the pregnant woman walked away feeling a little lighter. (Which, for those of us who have been or are pregnant know, is no small feat.) When I  was pregnant, I called Mom endlessly.  

Did you have Braxton-Hicks? 

Why do I want to eat a hot dog for the first time in ten years?  

I had the weirdest dream last night... 

She always knew what to say.  And she still does.

Wondering what to do with a colicky baby? Ask Nana.  Helpful tips on breastfeeding? You got it, Nana. Sleeping? Eating? Yes, folks, even pooping... Nana either has an answer or will sympathize with you until you feel better.  And, there is surely nothing more important to a new mom than feeling like you are doing a good job raising that precious baby.  That's exactly how Mom makes you feel.  

Not only is she The Baby Whisperer, but she also makes beautiful quilts. (I'm working on getting some pictures uploaded to show you!)  Again, this woman is talented!  Her fabric choices are always just right. Her patterns are perfect. And, the hand quilting, always complements the piecing to a "t." Words don't do her quilts justice.

The best part about her quilts though is the weight that they have.  Not the physical weight, but emotional weight.  Each quilt has a history and a meaning that goes deeper than its layers.  It may be part of a family tradition- such as the family quilts she makes for each of us when we get married.  Or, it brings with it a promise of new beginnings and new traditions such as the storybook quilts she makes for each family upon the arrival of a new baby.  Some of the quilts evoke memories of spending hours in various quilt stores picking out the perfect fabric with her.  For other quilts, the meaning is straightforward, such as the Family Tree quilt she made for my grandma.  Each of the leaves on the quilted family tree is a handprint of a child or grandchild (or now, great-great grandchild).  Nana's quilts are family heirlooms that will be passed along for generations to come.  And, as they are passed, so too will stories of the wonderful woman who made them with sew much love.