Monday, May 31, 2010

The Monday Manifest

Cars I Thought Were Cool When I Was a Kid

  1. Pontiac Fiero
  2. VW Cabriolet Convertible (Like Cindy Mancini's in Can't But Me Love)
  3. Porsche
  4. El Camino (or what we liked to call a "Truck Car" when we were little)
  5. Conversion Van (To see exactly what I am talking about PLEASE click here.)
  6. Honda Prelude (I actually drone a 1984 silver Honda Prelude my senior year in high school, it was  a stick and awesome.)
  7. Motor Home 
Here is a shout out to one of my favorite cars I have owned. 
(I have have been the primary driver of eight different vehicles.)
My 2000 Honda Civic EX, it was also a stick.
I made Josh take a picture of it before we traded it in back in 2007.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cinnamon Bun Bread

This morning I made cinnamon bun bread.  I got the recipe from my friend Katy , who got it from Cary.  
It is easy and so delicious!!
I did not photograph the process of making making the bread to save the sanity of my family, and so we could eat the bread for breakfast and not lunch.
I did photograph the end result so your mouth will water.  
But first the recipe...

CINNAMON BUN BREAD, adapted from Baking Bites
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk
tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
(I added 1 tbsp of cinnamon to the flour mix)

3 tbsp butter, room temperature
cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup 
powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream
(I skipped the icing this time around)

1. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.

3. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture.

4. Mix until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.

5. While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly.

6. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula.)

7. Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F. Bake for about 30 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
(set your pan on a cookie sheet or some tin foil because it can bubble over the top a bit.  Lets just say I need to clean my oven this afternoon)

8. Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread. Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.

I know you want glass of milk after just looking at this scrumptiosness.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Worn Out

We all had a long day yesterday.  Teddy and I were at the doctor for a while, more on that later, and Sonya was with Nana Marsha.  So she had a big day playing outside in the hose, having tea parties, and getting go out to lunch.  Needless to say Sonya was exhausted when she got home.  I made the kids dinner and Sonya insisted on eating outside, but I wanted to keep Teddy inside because he was sick, so she ate dinner outside by herself.  
I went about my business while they ate, and then I looked outside and saw this...

If you are wondering, dinner was multi-grain pasta with chicken, zucchini, cheese, garlic butter, and a side of sourdough toast.

This is after the first attempt to wake her up.

This is after the second time.

There are no more photos because waking Sonya is like waking a sleeping bear.  She tends to loose her mind, and didn't disappoint yesterday.  We are a vicious sleep cycle at our house where Sonya has stayed up too late at night, takes a nap the next day, and then CAN'T fall asleep at night.  It will take me a few days to work this out, where I need to keep her up during the day and get her to bed on time.  The delicate balance of sleep vs. activity is going to be a challenge this summer.  
Just the kind of summer fun I was hoping for.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Monday Manifest

Things Orwig Girls Love

  1. Fried Chicken
  2. Our Dad's BBQ
  3. Our Mom's Strawberry Shortcake
  4. Love Actually
  5. A Christmas Story
  6. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  7. Our dog Mike
  8. 4th of July in WG
  9. Swimming
  10. Devil's Back Campground
  11. Pente
  12. Othello 
  13. Crown Candy Kitchen
  14. Laying down on the couch
  15. Blankets
  16. Taking drives
  17. Eating before we sit down
  18. SNL from the 70's
  19. The Brady Bunch
  20. Our Grandma Rosie (but we hate that she is gone!!)
This picture was taken at Grandma Rosie's 95th birthday party in 2005.  
I have a question for you all...
Do you see a wrinkle?
Yeah, I didn't think so.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why I Suck

There are some days when I just want to throw my camera out the freakin window!!  Sometimes when I think I have my settings right, I don't and I miss some great shots.  I feel like 80%-90% of what I shoot is pure crap, but I like to keep those hidden from you all, or maybe I don't.  You all might think all of my photos are crap and just haven't told me.  Anyway,  Sonya is especially hard to catch on "film" because she literally puts her head down or turns away when I pull the camera out.  There are three recent shots I missed of her that really burn me up because I think she looks so beautiful.  
Take a look...

They are all blurry on the left side.  
So annoying!!

Side note: These images have been edited in i-photo.  I don't have Photoshop, and I would have no idea how to use it if I did have it.  Photoshop is something I would love to learn but I want to "master" the use of my camera first. 

Back to the matter hand, my relationship with my camera.  As you all can tell from this blog photography has become a hobby of mine, and would like to get better at it.  I know the key to getting better is to keep shooting, and shooting and shooting.  But there are plenty of days where I feel like I will NEVER get it right, and then I become overwhelmed with all of the information I DON'T know about photography.  I am getting mad just thinking about it.  
I was talking to somebody recently about why I love photography and what it does for me.  
  1. It allows and forces me to be creative.
  2. I can document our family 
  3. It makes me use my brain. 
  4. It is something in my life just for me.       
I am taking the Fresh Moms class with the ladies of Fresh Art Photography this week, and I can't wait.  I have been angry with my camera and I hoping this class will help us make up.  Like any good relationship, I need to keep pushing through this slump to get better. 
I will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Strawberry Pickin'

Today Sonya, Teddy, and I went strawberry picking with my friend Jennifer.  We almost didn't go because I really didn't want to take Teddy and I couldn't find a babysitter, but I am so glad we went!!  We headed out to Eckerts in Belleville IL, about a 40 minute drive outside of St. Louis.  Jennifer said it would be backbreaking work, and she wasn't kidding.

For my readers who worked for Jennifer at the Gap, don't worry she is still all about business when their is a task at hand.  She had Sonya looking for the darkest reddest berries she could find, and my girl delivered.

Can you stand how beautiful these strawberries are?!?

  I was hoping Teddy would sleep in his stroller, but he was not having it.  
So I got him out and let him sample the goods.  
And, what is cuter than a chubby baby in a field.

Notice Sonya picking some berries in the background, there was no messing around.

Here is our bounty of berries.
I will say it again they are so beautiful!!
We had enough strawberries that we gave a big tub to our neighbor Jenny and her family, and another one to my sister Cate and her daughter Stella.

When we were done picking our strawberries, we headed for the ice cream shop.  Where Jennifer treated us to a strawberry shortcake.  I think Sonya became Jennifer's friend for life after she saw our dairy delight.
I think her exact words were,
"Whow, wook at dat!"

See friends for life.

After our ice cream we headed to the store where I picked up some country goods
fresh brats
apple butter
pumpkin bread mix
biscuit mix
pound cake 
whipped cream

After dinner I gave Sonya another go around of strawberry shortcake.
Here is what she left in the bowl.
She just ate the cake and cream.
Stella had dinner with us, so she also got to partake in the strawberry shortcake, and she just kept asking for more cake.
These girls don't know what they are missing!! 
But, since she is my niece and I love her I gave her some more cake.
I need to give Stella a little blog love, so stay tuned for some amazing chub in the near future.

We had such a great time at Eckerts, and with Jennifer.  
I am so glad she called and convinced us to go.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What We Ate This Weekend

Now don't let me fool you with last weeks menu that we eat healthy all of the time.  I have been making a real effort to diversify and increase the fruits and veggies in our diet, but the weekends are when I take a break.  
So here is what we ate:
  • Saturday Lunch:  St. Louis Bread Company  
  • I had a smoked turkey sandwich with lettuce and onion on country white and a few chips
  • Sonya and Teddy split a "You Pick Two" of chicken noodle soup and turkey and cheese sandwich
  • Josh had a "You Pick Two" of chicken cobb salad and baked potato soup (Teddy really had some of everyone's lunch, he likes to eat!)
  • Saturday Dinner:  Dingho
  • I had Kung Pao chicken extra spicy, some rice, and two dumplings
  • Sonya had wonton soup, some rice, and two dumplings 
  • Josh had Happy Family, some rice, and two dumplings
  • Teddy had some of everyone's food, and some leftovers
  • Sunday Lunch:  Pappy's Smokehouse
  • We all split the Big Ben which consists of a full slab of ribs, quarter chicken, pulled pork sandwich, and a beef brisket sandwich.  It also came with four sides applesauce, sweet potato fries, fired corn and baked beans.  Needles to say we had TONS of leftovers.
  • Sunday Dinner:
  • Sonya and Teddy had a sampling of leftovers that consisted of garbanzo beans, BBQ chicken, blueberries, bell peppers, pureed cauliflower, string cheese, applesauce, and sweet potatoes.
  • Josh and I had a had a last minute babysitter and headed to Josh's favorite place Red Lobster.  I had a salad with grilled chicken and he had a plate of sea spiders, (snow crab) baked potato, and of course cheddar bay biscuits.
Still working on this week's menu, but I didn't want to give out the wrong impression of eating habits.

Happy meal planning.

And I will leave you with this because she is cute...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What We Are Eating Continued

Sometimes I feel like a lot of my life revolves around food.  Planning meals, going to the grocery store, cooking, cleaning up after a meal, packing snacks, budgeting the groceries, making sure my kids are getting adequate nutrition, etc.  Fact of the matter is I like to eat, as anyone who knows me can tell that by my round and squishy figure.
I thought I would share our menu for this week because I always like to see what other families are eating.
  • Monday:  grilled top sirloin marinated in Andria's steak sauce and seasoned with Citizen Kane's steak seasoning, roasted brussell sprouts, and roasted new potatoes
  • Tuesday:  I went out with friends to Robust.  (Thanks Groupon)
  • Wednesday: grilled chicken marinated in raspberry chipotle sauce, pureed cauliflower, and roasted squash 
Teddy devoured the pureed cauliflower, literally licking his bowl.
  • Thursday:  homemade cheese pizza and raw bell peppers
  • Friday:  grilled pork tenderloin, roasted sweet potatoes, and homemade cranberry walnut bread (same for you Allens) 
A couple weeks age I noticed a change in Sonya's behavior.  Melting down much easier, combative, WAY to rough with me and with Teddy, etc.  April was a very busy month we went to bed too late, we ate out a lot, and had lots of sweets because both of the kids had birthdays.  So the past two weeks I have been working on getting things back on track with Sonya by eating at home, getting rest in the afternoon, and getting her to bed on time.  I am firm believer that food and behavior are linked.  Don't ask me to cite anything because I can't, just articles I have read along the way and documentaries I have watched.
Also, this week Sonya had her three year check up at the doctor and it went great.  Except one thing, she is 39 inches tall and weighs 37 pounds, which makes her BMI in the 86%, meaning overweight.  What the what?!?  My sweet pediatrician said to not worry one bit about her weight, and the numbers are irrelevant.  I know she is not over weight, her diet has lots of color and variety, and the girl doesn't stop moving all day, but those damn numbers are driving me crazy.  So now I am analyzing her entire body and thinking about everything she eats.  Feeling like I am failing as a mother because I am in charge of what she eats at this stage of the game, and I am not setting her up to have a healthy life.  I need to let it go, and keep feeding my family the best I can. 
But I will say it again, those numbers are driving me crazy!!

All Things Sonya

I wanted to give a three year update on Sonya.
She can do a flip on the bar.
She can ride a two wheeler with training wheels.
She loves to play on her swing set.
She gave up her nap in January or February.
She sleeps in a bunk bed on the bottom bed.
She sleeps with "pinkie" and "blue" her blankies every night.
Her favorite color is blue.
She can spell:
Sonya, Lang, Teddy, Mama, Daddy, cat, pig, hat
She has an incredible vocabulary.
She knows all of her colors.
She knows the shapes:
circle, square, rectangle, triangle, diamond, heart, oval, octagon, star
She can count to 30.
She can work a 48 piece jigsaw puzzle by herself with NO picture reference.
She loves Taylor Swift.
When she hears a familiar sound she cups her ear and says, "Wisten!"
TV shows she watches:
Wonder Pets, Between the Lions and Sesame Street
Movies she watches:
Trains, UP, Shrek 1, 2 and 3, Cinderella, Horton Hears a Who, High School Musical and Kung Fu Panda
She loves the Disney Princesses.
What she received for her birthday:
Tinkerbelle night gown
High School Musical DVD
blue princess dress
yellow butterfly dress
Disney princess shoes
a pink tutu
a blue butterfly
Chutes and Ladders
She loves to eat all kinds of fruit.
She wears a 4T, 5T, or girls XS in shirts and pants.
She wears a 4T in skirts and dresses.
She wears a size 9.5 or 10 shoe.
She is 39 inches tall.
She weighs 37 lbs.
She has lost most of her curls.
She has been potty trained since last summer.
She wears a 7th Generation pull-up to bed size 3T-4T.
She goes to school two days a week.
She takes gymnastics one day a week.
In three years she has never had a sick visit to the doctor.
She is very loved.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Monday Manifest

Vegetables We Are Eating

  1. corn
  2. brocoli
  3. green beans
  4. sweet potatoes
  5. celery
  6. carrots (raw and roasted)
  7. butternut squash
  8. cauliflower
  9. asparagus
  10. white potatoes
  11. bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, and green)
  12. peas
  13. brussel sprouts (making them for the first time tonight)
  14. onions

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mama

Happy Mother's Day 
to me.

I actually got in front of the camera, and posted it on here.  
Happy Mother's Day to all of my favorite mamas!!  
Especially my own mama!!

Friday, May 7, 2010


This is Winnie...
she thinks we are besties.  
Loves it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Ear Saga

Teddy was up every two hours the other night, after a week of not sleeping, so I took him back into the doctor today to see if his ears have cleared at all from the infection that started last week on Sonya's birthday.  They had not cleared at all, but instead got worse.  The doc took one look in his ears, and said she was in pain just looking at them.  She said on a scale of 1-10 they were a 15, poor guy. Teddy has had three double ear infections in under three months.  He has had a lot of trouble sleeping over the past couple of months because of these infections which makes for a tired mama and dada.  He also spikes really high fevers, over 104 degrees, with the ear infections.  This last time he only got to 103 degrees, not quite as scary.  The second and third (current) infections have each lasted over eight days and have each taken two courses of anti-biotics to treat.  I know you don't necessarily have to treat ear infections with anti-biotics but having bacteria that close to his brain and surrounding facial bones I am not willing to take a chance.  That being said I have been doing some reading online and I took a Facebook pole about ear infections which lead Josh and I to the decision of taking Teddy off of dairy.  We will see where that takes us with his ear health.  My doc did mention that we might be headed in the direction of tubes for his ears.  She made the point that she did not want to be hasty, but did not want to ignore the problem.  Josh has a history of ear infections and tubes, so I would not be surprised if this is where we land.  Josh is ready to get him tubes today because he is really concerned about him having hearing loss, and the lack of sleep for the family has been really tough.  If he gets one more infection, then it will be time to get the surgery, but like I said I am going to take him off dairy first.  
With all of this ear drama, I have been thinking about this past year with him.  Teddy has never been a great sleeper, but I never knew how to fix the problem.  He never showed me any type of pattern with his wake up times or what kind of sleep environment worked best for him.  One night he might sleep 11 hours, and the next night he might get up at 12am for a while, then wake for the day at 5:30am.  To be honest I have been thoroughly confused and felt like failure because I couldn't figure out my own kid.  It has just got me thinking maybe his ears have been hurting him more than I know.  Josh and I have thought he was just a grumpier baby than Sonya, and not as well rested.  So maybe this is the relief he needs to be a happier guy.  
I know things could be a whole lot worse and some kids have double digit ear infections before they are able to figure anything out, but this is unchartered territory for me as a mom.  Sonya has never had a sick visit to the doctor in three years.  So I have been thrown for a loop with my boy.  I just want him to feel his best so he can enjoy the world around him.  I am truly thankful for my kids health and I know we are VERY blessed.
But I would love to see less of this...

And more of this...

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Monday Manifest

My friend Cary writes a blog that is a daily list of anything from what she is eating to the toys on the floor.  It is addictive to read, check it our here.  Since I have been reading Cary's lists everyday I have now started thinking in lists myself.  I thought I would start sharing some of my lists that are rattling around in my brain.

My kitchen wish list all recommended by Cook's Illustrated.
  1. Cuisinart 5.5 Stand Mixer
  2. KitchenAid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer
  3. KitchenAid Artisian Stand Mixer  (Just one mixer will do, but these are the top three)
  4. Le Creuset 7.25 Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  5. Vollrath Cookie Sheets
  6. CIA Bakeware Cooling Rack
  7. Wustoff Classic Santoku Knife 7in. 
  8. KitchenAid Ultra Wide Mouth Food Processor 
  9. Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen - Instant Read Thermometer

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Love and Hate for Crafts

Let me first say I am so envious of people who are good at crafts and love to do them.  I read some blogs and some of these women are like MacGyver with pipe cleaners, scissors and paint.  Hobby Lobby is their Mecca.  When I go into Hobby Lobby I start to sweat and break out in hives.  I am overwhelmed by all of the choices in projects, colors, textures, supplies, grosgrain vs satin ribbon, watercolor vs tempera vs permanent paint, glitter, stickers, buttons, sequins, glue, glue sticks, rubber cement, scrapbook supplies...I could go on but I am starting hyperventilate just thinking about it.  We died eggs over Easter and I left the canvas drop cloth out on deck for two weeks to remind myself how annoying the entire experience was.  One of the reasons I am sending my kids to pre-school is because I am so lacking in this area and I don't want them to miss out in artistically expressing themselves if they are so inclined.  Here is why I hate crafts:
They take forever to set up
They don't ever last that long
They are a lot to clean up
Mine always look like s*#t
Today I tried to put my craft bias aside, and Sonya and I did a project.  My sister Gretchen gave us this super cute cardboard castle for Christmas and today was the perfect day to put it together.  Last fall I bought cornstarch and tempera paint to make "chalk paint."  You just mix equal parts water, paint, and cornstarch and when it dries it looks like chalk and cleans really easily.  A perfect combo of cardboard castle, chalk paint, and nice weather outside.  You would think these would be easy projects, but not for me who is craft-phobic / craft-retarded.  Let start with castle assembly, I followed the instructions, but some how I messed it up.  
Take a look.
The sides didn't match up, the tabs didn't go into their spots, and these pieces didn't even make it onto the castle. 
 I was getting really mad, and was wasting time, so I just gave up. 

Then I went inside to mix the chalk paint.  I made a huge mess spilling the cornstarch all over, the paint was all goopy, so while I was giving it a good mix it splashed all over me.  
Reaffirming my disdain for crafting.  
But then once the painting began, it was fun.

Here is our completed castle.
Looks like chalk right?

I knew before long Sonya would begin painting herself, with her favorite color blue.

From there she proceeded to dump out all of the paint into the grass.
Sonya loved sitting in the paint, and then she peed in the puddle of paint.  I did catch that on camera, but I am not going to show that, instead it is her just sitting in the paint.
I LOVED seeing the paint in the grass and on the brushes.
So beautiful.

After Sonya painted herself she ran around the yard like a little pixie.  Completely ne ne.
  We painted and played for almost and hour and a half, but we barely talked.  I loved watching her have so much freedom and concentration at the same time.  I asked Sonya her favorite part of our project and she said,
"I liked sitting in the mud puddle, going pee pee in the paint, and painting my bottom."
She is a genius. 
So maybe crafting/art projects aren't that bad.  All of the mess was totally worth it.  She is happy when are together, she like to know that I am close.  But, if any of you out in blog land ever need extra children for your crafts feel free to invite mine over.      


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