Thursday, April 29, 2010

Starting starters!

It seems like everyone around me is planting seeds and growing gardens (or buying dairy cows, but I'm not going to attempt that).  At James pizza dinner on Monday we had some soda and I kept them to plant our seeds in.  I have never tried using soda bottles, but it seems like it should work!

We have 3 2 liter bottles cut in half, seed packets, dirt, a shovel, tape, permanent marker and paper towels. This was the nicest face I could get out of him!
We are going with Chives and Sweet Basil.  I bought starters for some Cherry Tomatoes, Strawberries and Walla Walla Onions and then I have some Parsley from last year.  Never used it and it still looks nice, although never harvested.  I have a big planter box that I got for Mother's Day (?) last year that I love and I am supposed to be watching for where the sun is the brightest the longest around my yard.
James was very excited to use his shovel we bought yesterday at the Target impulse buy area and Logan just played with the lids
Last week at preschool James class started talking about gardens and growing things.  He knew right what to do and how to do it! These are the Chives.
At first he was really careful and placed the seeds in individually, but then...
He just kinda sprinkled, hopefully, them in with the shovel.  At least that's what I am hoping he did I missed how these ones where placed, I was working on a bottle right after this.  He did cover the seeds with a little bit of dirt and then pat them lightly.  He was very careful and may have gotten into trouble for using too much force at school judging by how he talked about this step.
Taping the tops back on
We really like Pesto in our house, so we did 2 bottles of starts for the basil.  I use chives a lot, so I may have to come up with something else.  I have a friend using egg cartons and I may be doing that as well. 
We brought them in and watered them.  I need to clear a spot on my kitchen window sill and maybe buy a water sprayer.  I tried to put water in through the little tops and that didn't work out well.  But the bottoms got plenty of water!  We are very excited to get these started and will track their progress. 

Today was a wonderful day with sun, the library, errands, and playing with cousins for a couple hours. James and I played a quick round of Go Fish, his first time playing, after we laid down Logan and now they are both sleeping.  Life is wonderful!

Easton update!

This morning Easton's weight was 7.13 and the last word was that Easton is now home and that his bilirubin levels are coming down.  They will continue to monitor him with blood draws, until they are happy with his numbers.  My mom was a great person to be there with Nancy for this as she has been thru this herself and with baby Linda.  When I was born my parents couldn't afford to carry insurance and trusted that all would be well.  I was an 8 and the critical bilirubin level is 24...however my  levels elevated to 23 before I rounded the corner and came back down, all without modern medicine. I am assuming it was a lot of prayers and love! 

Nancy is learning about how fun newborns can be.  Easton is just starting to switch days and nights.  He has slept most of the morning and she keeps trying to wake him up to feed him, unsuccessfully!  She says he latches on but that's as good as the game goes!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Easton Ray Oliverson

On Monday I became an auntie all over again! Nancy and Jace had their first baby! They even planned for him to come on the 26th, how your water breaks (naturally) on the day you want to have a baby is a question I need answered. Her water broke at 3:00 in the morning and by the time they got to St. George, about 30 minutes from where they live, Nancy was ready for drugs! Easton Ray was born the morning of April 26th weighing in at a healthy 8.5 pounds and 20 inches long.

Easton is healthy; however he is under the lights in the hospital tonight. From what I understand it is just a one nighter, and the hospital is close to Nancy’s house. My mom is there keeping watch and the plan is to call Nancy when he wakes up for his feedings. Nancy is learning that sometimes advice is worth what you pay for it and has had to learn things on her own, but now nursing is going well and he has had a few good diapers. So, keep our hunk-a-chunk of burning love in your prayers, Nancy and Jace too!

Cousin Cathy's Chocolate Chip Cookies

We love cookies in this house. I used to work at a job that I made cookies every Sunday and I brought them in and fed the crew! I love making cookies but there isn’t a recipe that I have found that only makes 6 cookies (other than my freezing them, which works wonderfully!). This Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is one that a good friend, Billie Garrett, found in the newspaper and they are so wonderfully chewy goodness I make them all the time. This time we added some M&Ms because I was given a bag in primary on Sunday for helping out in the Nursery.

Cousin Cathy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 c. Butter          2 t. Vanilla
2/3 c. Crisco           2 c. Flour
1 c. Sugar          1 t. Salt
1 c. Brown Sugar, packed          1 t. Backing Soda
2 Eggs          1 pkg. Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350˚. Mix wet to dry. I added some M&Ms, but you might also like nuts or the mini M&Ms too.  There are manythings you can add to cookies if you give it a try! Bake 10-12 minutes.
Logan's licking the chocolate off his sweet face.  Nothing makes you feel better about yourself, and your cooking, then happy faces!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eating Sand

On Sunday we had a potluck at my parent’s house. It was great watching the kids play in the sun, in the water and of course eating sand. Logan has always enjoyed some good sand! Last summer it was all I could do to keep the sand out of his mouth. I recently went to the beach with a friend and she kept cleaning her sons hands and wiping him down while my kid ate his peanut butter and jelly sandwich he dropped in the sand then walked on.
He didn't drop the pesto in the sand, but those hands were seriously gross.

Birthday Traditions

Growing up one of the things I always remembered is special birthday name pancakes. My parents would spell out our names with pancake batter and I have made sure to make these for my kids every year and James even asked for his this year!

These pancakes are a family favorite with bananas and cinnamon. It has taken me a long time to get good enough that I can make the letters somewhat readable.
James was a little upset I didn't put chocolate chips on it.  I would have if I could find our mini chocolate chips, but they were MIA and the big ones would have messed up.

Rainbow Birthday Cake!

Last night we celebrated James Birthday...can't believe that crazy kid is 4! We made pizzas and got to have Rainbow Cake! About a month ago we were playing online and found a cake that he really liked.  I had a hard time getting it close to the picture.  But it's an idea I want to use in the future.  I used white cake mix, tons of food coloring, 8x8 cake pans, creamy white frosting and skittles. 
We used 1 cup of prepared cake mix per color and cooked it for 15 minutes. 
After these were all cooled we frosted them with a creamy white frosting and topped with a Skittles rainbow.  I had two 4 year olds helping me, but it turned out nice!

Beef Ragu with Pasta

I grew up loving "Stringy Beef" otherwise known as Pot Roast. I recently found this recipe that combined my favorite and the boys favorite and it was a winner. I didn't cook it as they suggested, but I found that this worked well. It got James to eat tomatoes and protein in one meal...double plus!

Beef Ragu with Pasta
1 Beef Rump Roast (about 3 pounds)
3 medium Onions, thickly sliced
5 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
3 T. fresh Oregano leaves
1 can whole peeled Plum Tomatoes with juice
2 c. Red Wine (I substituted 1 can of Tomato Sauce)
½ t. Red-Pepper flakes
1 lb. Penne
Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Brown roast seasoned with salt and pepper. Transfer the roast into a slow cooker. Sautee onions, add garlic, mushrooms, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, and crush with spoon. Stir in wine, or tomato sauce, and red pepper flakes. Pour over roast and set temp to high for 4-6 hours or low 8-12 hours. Cook pasta and drain combine with tomato mixture and place into bowls. String the beef and top the pasta. Garnish with parmesan.
Logan loved it!
...and James had second

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Morning fun

This morning since it was beautiful we decided to work on our pinecone project. The other day when we went walking with my sister and nieces we found 2 great pine cones for bird feeders. So we pulled out the kids picnic table, the peanut butter, wild bird seed, hemp and Ziploc bags and got to work. When we did this last spring we made a big mess inside and got a lot of stuff dirty, so I got to thinking how I could do this without making such a mess. That's where the Ziploc bags come into play. We rolled them in a 9x9 last time and the seeds didn't get in all the little crevasses, but with the Ziplocs it seeds where everywhere!
I asked him to smile and this is what I got!
I told him to open his eyes and this is what I got!
Logan had fun eating the peanut butter!
At least he looks so cute doing it!
We're almost done!
Our birds are going to be so happy! They have 4 different locations to choose from on this one tree! What can I say, my kids love watching the birds!
I love this! I got it at Target and I just love how simple it is.  I bet I could make somthing like this is a gourd this fall.  We'll see.  With 3 kids 4 and under it may not happen this year!
See shorts! It really is sunny out! (And a messy room! It was clean this morning too!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stake Conference

Had a great time at the adult session of stake conference.  I always try to make a special point to get to that one, since I don't tend to go to the Sunday session.  I was about to leave (it was 8:00 and my kids go to bed at 7:30 and 8:00 and they were at the sitters house) but then President Duce, our Stake President, stood to speak and I am glad I stayed.  He talked about things he had learned from being a stake president and I really liked what he had to say about marriage.  I know that it is a tough institution and that its a two-sided situation, but he said that you must live your life to bring happiness to your partner.  I guess it brought me some relief.  I know that I have done the right thing with where I am at, but it is so difficult that you can't help but wonder.

The boys love Adam and this time they got to be with ALL the Baesler boys.  I had a hard time getting them to leave at 9:00 at night, but now they are both asleep and we will enjoy the day tomorrow.  It is always rough the next day when things aren't according to schedule, but hopefully it will be a nice day and we can spend it mostly outdoors. 

I am amazed how quickly the last few weeks have passed with this pregnancy. I still have time left, but it seems like it has gone faster these last few weeks then I’ve been pregnant. Most days I forget I am pregnant and then I am reminded when I slow down or do something I can’t do anymore. I don’t fit thru holes I used to and I forget and sometimes I get slightly smashed.
We are on day 2 of no milk at night for Logan. He is currently sleeping in the nursery, but I must say he has slept better. I put him in there since I knew he would cry and hoping it wouldn’t wake up James if they were in separate rooms. So far last night it was twice and twice for James too. Both times James got up and stood in the doorway to my room thinking he could sneak into bed with me…when I asked him if he needed something he would turn on the hall light and run back into bed. Quick thinker. Logan hasn’t gone down as easy as he always has, but I am hoping once we conquer this hurdle we can all sleep a little better (waking up at least every 2 hours is rough on a person!). The boys have a dentist appointment at the end of the month, so it will be one less thing to feel guilty about!

Lime Squares

One of my favorite people in the world makes the best Lemon Squares you will ever in your life! Shelly knows how to please! I don't think I have ever had something she has made that wasn't to die for! So anyways I was at the store the other day in the cake mix aisle and saw a mix of Lime Bars and thought about how great that would I used her recipe for Lemon Squares and made it a little my own.

Lime Squares

1 c. Flour               ½ c. Powdered Sugar
1 c. Wheat Flour       1 c. Butter, melted
¼ c. Pecans, chopped (optional)

Mix and press into 2 8x8 or 2 9x9 greased pans. (Optional: In one pan sprinkle with pecans on the bottom before putting in the mixture.  One for the nut lovers and then a plain Jane for the crazys.) Bake for 350˚ for 20 minutes.

4 Eggs                  ½ t. Baking Powder
4 T. Flour                 1/3 c. Lime Juice
2 c. Sugar

Mix and pour onto crusts as soon as it comes out of the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes more until egg mixture is set. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares. Another option here would be to put zest in with the egg mixture. I’ve done that before with the lemon squares, but these limes were looking a little sad, so we just did the minimum.  I was a little afriad that the wheat flour would be too heavy, but I really liked it and I don't think you could tell that's what it was that made it different!

Friday, April 16, 2010


We had tacos tonight and although I usually warm my tortillas in the microwave I just recently had these at my sisters and she warmed them on the stove top, like my mom did growing up. When I went to get the pan I usually use it was dirty in the sink, so I got to thinking what else could I use. I have a glass top and I got to thinking, why wouldn’t tin foil work? So, we tried it and although my temp was way too high for this method I think I will use it again. You can use it for quesadillas and the whole nine yards.
I don't know why Logan eats things from the sides.  He eats his hot dogs like its corn on the cob.  It is so funny to watch him eat! I guess in general he doesn't do things like everyone else!
These were his kisses!  You can see the hamburger grease on his face and the red acid burns from his love affair with tomatoes.  While I was cooking he nearly ate an entire tomato I had cut up for tacos. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

She's almost there!

Nancy had her last appointment on Tuesday the 13th and her doctor told her she was 90% effaced and dilated to 2.5 cm. He told her that they would strip her membranes on the 20th and if she hadn’t already had the baby, they would induce on the 26th. It’s almost worth moving to Utah for! She’s not even due until May 3rd. But Jace, her husband, will be out of town the 1st and 2nd, so they are playing it on the safe side. We are all very excited Easton is coming soon. I missed a call today and thought I had missed something big, but she was asking about acid free pens...oh well. Yesterday we went over things she needed to bring to the hospital and things she could leave at home. I don't think anyone ever really did the honest run down of how things go when you have a baby when I was a first timer. There was a lot to learn and there still is. I am finding that the third time around things are much different then they were the first 2 times. Braxton Hicks hurt for one! That is no joke! From talking to my sister and others there is worse to come with the postpartum pains too! Oh the things I have to look forward to!

We got to have dinner with my older sister, Emily, tonight. We invited ourselves over and got to help out while she taught piano lessons and James picked up kids from soccer. Usually Emily is alone on Thursdays, but one of James classes was cancelled, so he was there to help too! They live a busy life and she’s about to run a Marathon on Saturday. We are all very proud of her and I am sure I won’t be running one anytime soon, but it would still be fun to run with her-she’s a great running partner.

Kiddos are sleeping and since I didn’t get to bed until midnight last night, I should do the same!

Spring brings beautiful blustery days to Whidbey Island!

We love our little swing set that is across the street. This morning my sister came over for a little walk and swinging time for Amy and Claire. It was the perfect amount of time to let the kids play together. James sometimes gets a little wild when other kids are around. The tiger comes out and things get crazy! But today by the time we were done and ready for lunch things were still sweet and everyone came out winning. But now its nap time and I will take full advantage of this!

Playground in the Park

Last night we went to Park with my sister and 3 of her kids.  It was an evening play date I hope we can do again! I love how tired the boys get from having fun! It's like a huge bonus; they get to have fun and we all go to bed on time. Plus I got to sit down and chat with my big sis, something we never have time for.
Amy posed for this picture until it finally took.  It was a good 30 seconds! Kids are great!
Claire was so impressed with herself! She made it all the way across swinging her legs back and forth, I think she was going backwards, but she's 5.
Peter was so sweet with Logan.  He followed him around like a mother hen.  Logan loved driving the boat and making sounds to match.  All of my nieces and nephews seem to really enjoy mothering Logan.  It is fun to watch Amy with him.  She takes her responsibilities very seriously!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Tonight we had Gyoza and it was a good night for Gyoza. Since I don’t really have a recipe it is a some nights are better then others kind of deal. My kids love it and I must say I could eat and eat and eat when it comes to Gyoza. It is fast and easy to make with 5 basic ingredients. Ground meat (I do turkey, but my mom sometimes does beef or pork, I think), Napa Cabbage, fresh grated Ginger Root, Sesame Seed Oil, and Shitake Mushrooms. From what I understand Gyoza is a Japanese food that allows moms to hide vegetables. It was also like the 10 cows, depending on how well you made and folded your Gyoza determined what kind of partner you could get (or was it be?). Sometimes I add different easily hid veges into the mix. Tonight I added grated up carrots and chopped green onions to the mix. I really liked it.

1 pkg. Gyoza wrappers
1 pkg. ground Meat
2 shakes Sesame Seed Oil
1 head Napa Cabbage, finely chopped
3-4 Skitake Mushrooms, finely chopped
Ginger Root (to preference)
1 or 2 Carrots, finely grated
1 brunch Green Onion, chopped

Add all but the meat together and mix. Now add half the meat and mix by hand. The meat, when I make it, is more of a bonding agent so I like to have more veges then meat. It’s your call. Place Gyoza wrappers on a plate and wet the edges. Place a small amount of mixture onto the wrapper and fold it up however you want. When Yukiko makes this she is good and removes all the moisture from the cabbage by putting it into a bowl and salting it slightly. The salt pulls the moisture from the cabbage and after 5 minutes you wring it out and then add the other ingredients.
Logan didn’t notice it on his plate, but when he did he couldn’t get enough.
I am big into freezing ahead. With these you have to make sure they don’t touch if you do they will stick together. When defrosting still make sure they don’t touch because they get even more sticky. Cook in a hot pan with oil until brown on all sides. If you want you can check with a thermometer to make sure that the meat is cooked enough, but I bless my food so I don’t have to be so crazy.  Traditionally you then steam them, but I like mine crispy, so I skip that step.  There is also a dip made up of 50/50 Vinegar/Soy Sauce.  I don't really use this either, but its good when I don't have Ponzu (a Soy Sauce with Citrus) on hand.  Make a pot of rice and love it up!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Outside Time

The last few days have been great! The weather has been unbelievable and the outdoors has been beckoning us.  James and Logan really enjoyed the great Whidbey Island outdoors since Thursday.  The house we were house sitting was far from everything and was the most child friendly arrangement a single mom could ask for.  They played hard and they slept hard (Logan took 3 plus hour naps)! Staying at this technology free house has really helped me to realize how over done our house is! The boys are in constant need to be entertained, instead of entertaining themselves.  Today I put up the DVD’s and I am hoping that this will encourage them to play more.  Over the weekend my dad and the homeowner put up a fence for us so now the boys can play without getting into the road. 
It has even made me consider getting chickens, although I don’t have the space for them, but it was really fun counting the eggs and taking the chickens our leftovers.  James liked it best when the hens ran with him.  He encouraged that by running with their table scraps! I am sure it would all become the chore it is, but taking this little vacation has been a nice release for us! Plus it didn't cost us any money!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies...just like store bought!

I just recently tried 2 recipes for these cookies, but one just left me completely unimpressed. But this one was amazing! I have never made cookies before that asked for 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, but whatever it wants I will give if I get cookies this good!
White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

3/4 c. Butter, softened
1/2 c. Sugar
1 c. Brown Sugar, packed
1 Egg
1 Egg Yolk
1 T. Vanilla
2 c. Flour
1/2 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt
1 1/2 c. Macadamia Nuts, chopped
2 c. White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Beat together butter and sugars.  Beat in egg, and then beat in the egg yolk.  Add vanilla and mix until smooth. Dump in flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix.  Add macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips.  I used a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop and then gently pushed them down a bit, not too much.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges appear slightly golden and the center is still doughy.  Makes 3-4 dozen 1 tablespoon cookies.

I doubled this recipe and used macadamia nuts that had sea salt, because I wasn’t paying attention. I looked in the nut section and couldn’t find them there, but in the salted nut section at the local grocery store they carried these. I had remembered reading a comment about these cookies about the saltiness of the nuts and the sweetness of the cookies, so I figured it worked for the original cookie baker. In my opinion the 2 cups of white chocolate chips was too much. Between the macadamia nuts and the white chocolate chips they were pretty much all stuff, but sometimes that’s exactly what your looking for. Of course I froze some too, never know when you might need some fresh cookies! If you're doing this don't forget that you need to up the temp about 25 degrees and keep the same time if you cook them frozen.  I don't know how long they keep for, never sit in my freezer too long!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Driving in the van

At our friends house they have this great van.  We always seem to be there when its dark, so the boys have never played in the van before, but I thought thtat this was pretty darn sweet, Logan driving and James in the back seat!
And of course you have to watch where your going when you back up! Its funny the things kids pick up when they watch you do things. 
James didn't really fit in the back seat so we had to open it up and let him hang out the back end.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nancy update

My little sister is due the first bit of May, but at her appointment today the doctor said that she was dilated 1 centimeter and that she was 75% effaced! When she told me that I started out with the bad news that being 1 cm dilated doesn't mean anything! I was 3 cm for 2 months. But that effaced number is a sign things are moving along! The doctor told her that she should expect Easton to come in the next week! My mom says that as long as he makes his debut after the 24th or this week that would be best (State competition for Solo and Ensemble is that day and she is supposed to accompany a young lady!). When I talked to Nancy she said they were planning on the 26th! Babies don't really care what we think or want, so good luck to all! We are happy to meet you Easton whenever you come, just be healthy!

Boy Bath Time!

We do bath time twice a day at our house mostly for my sanity and not for cleanliness! The boys love the water and although bath time doesn’t usually last longer then 5-10 minutes it gives me a little time to put things together or sit down by myself.
I know you can't tell what Logan is doing in this picture, but he is gently burping this dinosaur.  He has really taken on the brother role really well and I am hoping this means good things when he becomes a big brother.  People have told me that they think it will be hard on him, since I still baby him, but I am hoping they are all wrong and he takes on the new life with ease! (Cross your fingers and pray for me!!)
Look how quick that camera is! Impressive! Now if I could only find the charger for this camera...I've seen it some where, story of my life.  Age old story of second box to the left...grr!

Deboning a Turkey, check!

I remember my mom always slaving away deboning the turkey after our holiday meals, but I have never done it myself.  I made my first Turkey on Sunday and I was so scared! It is a major component of the meal and if I mess it up, then we are having cereal for dinner! But all went well, even though I had to run warm water on the inside of the turkey! I guess you can't expect to take an almost 13 pound turkey out of the freezer on Saturday and it be completely thawed on Sunday.  I also learned that you have to check everything! I got everything out of the chest cavity, but I check the other end! Evidently they hide something there too, but no one died, so I would consider that a success! 
This morning I started to debone it after boiling it on Sunday.  Of course I let it get too hot, so it was fun to work with, but I got it done.  There's a lot of yucky stuff in there! But I got 2 quart ziplocs to put into my freezer and a tupperware in my fridge to eat now! I love having this on hand.  Makes a quick meal on the fly and sometimes no matter how much planning you put into a meal, life goes for something in the opposite direction! Having kids does that to you too! I love it when I can have a few meals in the freezer that takes little time, especially when your having a baby soon.  Fill your freezer!
And here's this, since Logan's so cute! He opened and closed the microwave while I worked at the stove top! But he came a running when I told him I was done and it was time for bed!