Oh My, Miscellany Monday

I made cinnamon scented oil this morning, to paint onto the leftovers of my pine cones. At first I mixed olive oil and ground cinnamon in a small bowl… and realized that it just smelled like olive oil. So I added water to try to dillute the olive oil smell… and then I remembered that water and oil do NOT mix. And so I added not-so-strongly-smelling vegetable oil. And mixed. And mixed. And got a cinnamon-y paste surrounded with oil…

And painted the tips of the pinecones with the oil that collected around the cinnamon paste…

And it smells lovely.

I forgot to put the {whole} chicken in the crockpot until 11:30 this morning. Last time I cooked a chicken in the crockpot, it took close to 8 hours. I was going to shred the chicken and use it in a different recipe. If it weren’t for the option of putting the crockpot on high for part of the time, my husband might not be eating until very late tonight. It’s just a day like that.

If you’re like me, and think know that maybe definitely you’re not taking the time to find space to breathe in, go here to read Emily Freeman’s post today.

Right after I read her post, I took the risk of bringing the dog out to the back, even though the baby is napping, and even though the dog dashing through the back door sometimes wakes him. Eli didn’t wake, but as soon as I stepped outside and started to breathe, I sat in a puddle of half-frozen dog pee. In my favorite jeans. That I just washed. {Like I said. A day like THAT}.

I’ll try again later. I used to be so much better at sitting still, at being quiet… pauses in conversation never bothered me… sitting alone doing nothing didn’t bother me. I thrive in quiet. And yet somehow in the past year I’ve forgotten how to. Like wildflowers that forget that they thrive on the hillsides in the Swiss Alps, trying to transplant themselves in a pot on a windowsill. Like a tree that forgets to just be a tree. I’ve forgotten.

It’s time to breathe again and remember.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Second Tuesday Unwrapped

I almost didn’t write another Tuesday Unwrapped post. I tried. But yesterday was busy and the baby didn’t nap well, was fussier and needier than normal and then he burned his little hands on the inside of the oven door (my gosh, he has gotten fast… but don’t worry, he only touched it for a split second and no harm done). He spilled the bowl of cold water that I was trying to use to cool his hands with all over the counter and floor, in the middle of me baking bread and making dinner, and then needless to say I didn’t get anything actually accomplished until Chris came home.

So anyway… I didn’t write a Tuesday Unwrapped post on Tuesday. And to be honest I was getting a little upset about how things were going yesterday. Everything was just messy.

Oh, and did I mention that I messed up the bread I was making? Something about bleached vs. unbleached flour… and the fact that I only had wax paper, not parchment paper (if you read the recipe here you’ll understand). And my dough was too wet and sticky, even with a dusting of flour, and I ended up having to tear it off the wax paper and just plop it on the preheated pizza stone and just hope that those meager attempts at 1/4-in slits (that really just blended in with the rest of the dough blob) did whatever it is that they were supposed to do.

So my imperfect bread went in the oven. And a golden-brown something with a shape that still closely resembled the blob I had put in the oven 30 minutes before came out…

And it smelled delicious…

And it was yummy. I think we ate half the loaf with dinner last night…

And my husband said that it was better than my usual dump-all-the-ingredients-in-the-bread-machine-and-hit-start bread…

And now my once again not napping and once again fussy one-year-old who has barely left my lap this morning – and who hasn’t wanted to eat much solids lately – has eaten almost an entire inch-and-a-half thick slice of still-fluffy bread.

Let me just pause and say that the fact that my bread was still fluffy this morning makes me extremely smiley :) Every time that I have made bread in my bread machine, it is fluffy for the first night and then the next day it is gummy and dense.

I started writing today because something inside said I had to. That I needed to just write, and I’d find it – the gift God had given me yesterday that I couldn’t find in the midst of my mess.

But the gift was the mess. (Ahem. Dear me, go back and read this post).

He blesses me with mess… with the ability to make mess… and the ability to trust Him that through my feeble efforts (making dough by hand for the first time) and mistakes (my wax paper) and tiredness (my blob of dough), that He takes all of that and makes something beautiful. He isn’t hindered by me, He does not rely on me… He wants to do life with me and He wants me to trust Him.

I don’t have any pictures of my bread for you. Yesterday the blob-shaped bread didn’t seem to be photograph-worthy. And today I grab my camera just to realize that the battery is dead and I have NO idea where the battery charger is. So you just get this picture instead, which has nothing to do with bread… but it does have to do with one of my favorite gifts :) 

White Mac and Cheese

This has become our favorite macaroni and cheese. In fact, I don’t even want to buy the boxed stuff any more. Not even to make cheating baked mac and cheese with it.

I personally had some trouble at first finding blocks of  white cheddar to use for this recipe. The cheapest one that I found is at Walmart, and I believe the brand is Cabot. They have Seriously Sharp and Extra Sharp – I have not noticed a difference between the two, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t one!

Here is the recipe:

1lb your favorite pasta (I use shells)

1lb white cheddar cheese, shredded

3T butter

2T flour

2C milk

salt and pepper to taste

1 pkg diced or cubed ham, or leftover ham that you have diced or cubed (you decide the amount)

Start to boil the water for your pasta, and preheat the oven for 350 degrees. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the flour, then slowly pour the milk in, stirring as you pour. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to thicken (I usually go by the time more because I don’t notice mine thickening too much, probably because I use skim milk). Stir in the white cheddar cheese, and turn to low, stirring ocassionally. Cook your pasta just until al dente. As the pasta is cooking, butter the inside of a 9×13 glass pan. Drain the pasta, then pour it into the pan. Add the ham cubes to the white cheddar cheese sauce, then pour the sauce over the pasta. Place on the middle rack and cook for 30 minutes.

I have frozen the leftovers and it has reheated just fine :)

(Picture to come soon! We just ate all of our leftovers.)

38 weeks – pictures of baby’s room

I think this is my favorite corner of the house right now… (I still need to finish that second book sling… blah).

Kinda hard to see… baby’s swing. It probably won’t stay here, but it’s there for now…

The dresser/changing table… and yes, I realize the changing pad is hanging off the side a little. I’m working on getting it to stay put!

This picture makes everything look cramped. It’s not, I promise. And the bassinet will be moved to our room (and wherever else I am while the baby is sleeping).

We’re likely going to paint that cube thing the same darker gray that is on two of the walls… and that stuff won’t all be inside… but for now this is where the baby monitor is, which you can hardly see. The radio/cd/ipod player thing probably won’t stay in here all the time either. We were using it in here while we were painting…

The quilt that came with the bedding set. I’m thinking it might get hung over the crib, because that wall is looking kinda bare right now!

Oh! So our freezer is getting pretty full. We now also have…

4 mini loaves of banana bread, 4 scones (that might get eaten soon), a batch of pizza dough, 4 batches of pizza sauce, 2 quart-baggies of homemade tomato soup, a baggie of leftover tomato juice, 2 baggies of chili, 4 stuffed peppers, a small baggie of leftover rice, a 8x8in pan of white cheddar mac and cheese, 3 mini loaves of cheeseburger meatloaf…

I think that’s all. I still want to at least make the mango bread, some skillet lasagna, gumbo, chicken-pesto stuffed shells, and chicken and dumplings.

37 weeks (full term) :)

Sooo today baby is full term!  That is just crazy! At our appointment last Wednesday the doctor said that she didn’t think he would come until at least 38 weeks, though. We’ll see. If you want to stay in there ’til 40 weeks, baby, it’s okay…

Chris and I used most of our Target gift cards to order some of the things off of our Target registry the other day – the thermometer, a set of crib sheets and a diaper caddy… and yesterday we went to BuyBuyBaby to use Bed Bath and Beyond coupons (’cause they are linked to BuyBuyBaby) to buy a couple more things that were on either our Target or BabiesRUs registries. We got the Boon Frog Pod, and 2 Ultimate Crib Sheets, and a big box baby wipes. Yeah… we went to a totally different store than either of the ones we registered at… but the coupons were nice to use :)

Chris also put one more coat of paint on the top of the tree, moved the glider into the baby’s room, and moved all of the painting supplies out. I cleaned the car seat and put the cover back on, hung the paintings, found a bag to be designated as the hospital bag (though it is not packed yet… how are you supposed to pack your toothpaste and deodorant and PJ’s when you might still need them at home for a few weeks??), and am gathering the last of the things to be washed. The room is basically ready, besides the last book sling to be sewn. I just can’t get myself to do it. Both sewing machines are on the floor and are heavy and the bobbin in my new-er machine needs wound and who knows if I remember how to work it and… I’ll get to it. I must. Because there are empty curtain rod brackets waiting on the wall to hold the book sling and my baby’s books, which are now on the floor.

I have gathered recipes for meals I can freeze. So far I have 3 mini loaves of pumkin bread, 2 quart-size baggies of navy bean soup, and a quart-sized bag of homemade potstickers in the freezer. The rest of our potato-leek soup will be going in a freezer bag (or two) today. I have enough banana’s to make several mini loaves of bread and some scones, and a mango for mango bread :) (I’ll let you know how that works out later)… and plans for a bunch of other things to go in the freezer. The plan is to have the last week of November and most of  December taken care of…

I did a craft completely non-baby related, though :) I’ve been saving toilet paper tubes for who knows how long (and gotten quite a few funny looks from people using my bathroom when they open up the cabinet below the sink to an avalanche of brown paper tubes…).

I am making snowflake ornaments… because our tree last year, although very pretty and wonderful-smelling, only had lights on it last year and ONE ornament… and looked kinda naked… and I already have white acrylic paint from the paintings for baby’s room, so all I needed to buy was a glue gun ($5) and glitter (4 tubes for $2) and my tree will be decorated for a total of $7 this year! :)