Monday, January 31, 2011

French Bread

Mmmm.. nothing like it! And so easy to make!


1/2  cup warm water
2 tbsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar


2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fat(oil)
2 tsp salt
2 cups warm water
yeast mixture

Stir in 71/2-8 cups flour.

Knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turning to cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch down and let rest 15 minutes.  Divide dough into two. On floured surface, roll each half to 12x15 rectangle. Roll up and secure edges. Place loaves on greased cookie sheets or into loaf pans.  Make 4 or 5 diagonal  slashes across tops. Let rise until double. Mix and brush on:

1 egg
2 tbsp milk

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Just a few notes:

  • I use baker's yeast which doesn't need to be activated, so I just combine both measurements of water, and add the yeast followed by the rest of the ingredients. The half tsp of sugar is just to 'feed' the dry yeast in order to activate it.

  • I also don't punch the dough down after the first rising. I don't find it makes a difference.

  • My mom has French loaf pans that I use. I divide this recipe into four and get four long skinny loaves out of it.

  • I also start off with 5 1/2 cups of flour and add more if needed.

I just made these this morning... mmm, mmm, good!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Calendar that Saved my Life

Ok, maybe not my life, but my sanity!!

This calendar was highly recommended by a friend and it has been the best calendar I have ever used! I didn't get my new 2011 one until the third week of January and I was so lost without it! I could not keep track of what day it was, what I was making for supper, who was going where etc. and I'm generally thought of to be a fairly organized person! I love that my week is all laid out at once: I can quickly write down a meal for the day, something I can't forget to do or to buy and  I have a convenient place for phone messages without always having to search for paper(provided my calendar is in the right spot). I highly, highly reccomend this calendar for any family that wants to be organized!

Polestar Family Calendar was made especially for families to have a non-frazzed, non-hectic, organized life!

Three-part daily planning guide

Family Appointments--the place to write down all the meetings, appointments, and special events that your own family needs to remember. Encourage children to write down their own commitments--babysitting schedules, sports practices and games, music lessons, etc.

Meals/Kitchen--design your own best use for this one. Perhaps this will be a menu planner, or the place to record who is doing the daily kitchen chores. You could also use it to note any extra guests, or empty places at the table.

Home--tailor this section for your needs, as well. Some people use it for the daily household chores like doing the dishes or taking out the compost, mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Other use it to note items that need repair, or remind themselves about seasonal home maintenance.

Weekly To Do/To Buy lists--A central place to write down things to buy and to do before you forget!

Messages--we've made this section quite large so that phone and other family messages can be marked here each day.

Plus encouraging weekly quotes

Monthly double-spread planning pages--write down main events such as your vacation, weekend projects, days off school. Two half pages also give space for monthly to-dos such as spring cleaning or new ideas or projects you have.

Unique reference pages including:

Family Profiles--space for clothing sizes, special days, favourite foods and wish lists for your entire family.

Items Loaned & Borrowed--use these pages to jot down books, tools, and household items you've loaned or borrowed, and record the promised date of return.

Storage Record--can be used to note where you put holiday decorations, seldomused sports equipment or seasonal equipment, plus the location of important documents such as warranties, insurance policies, wills.

Notes--several pages, lined and blank for any misc notes or drawings.

Phone Directory--for easy access to phone numbers and addreses.

Dates to Remember--can be a reminder of annual occasions, a place to record special events or a listing of regularly-scheduled items.

Tear-out Shopping lists--a section of tear-out shopping lists, printed on perforated parges, appears at the very back of the calendar

Sturdy inside back-cover pocket to keep any pages protected

*All pictures and most info taken from webiste.

Monday, January 24, 2011

11 Months

Seems like I just wrote a 10 months post, so just refer back to that one... it should be current :P

Katie's becoming more and more independent and grown up. I can't help but say it: my baby isn't not really a baby anymore! She's going to be 1 in a month. I will have a one-year old. What!??!?

Anyways, enough of the dramatics,  Katie's still doing the norm: sleeping, eating, playing etc.

She loves to sit and look at her books. I can stand in the kitchen doing dishes or something and hear her blablaing away while "reading" her books. I love that baby talk! She also loves having music playing. She has this Lion toy thing that has a rolling wheel in the middle, which, when spinned, plays a song. She'll just spin it to get it to play some music and then look at her books. So fun! I usually put on some fun, bouncy music for. John Phillip Sousa or Scott Joplin is good and bouncy! She sits there bouncing away and wagging her head.

She's finally cut some of the top teeth she's been working on for a while. She now has three bottom (two middle and her left) and two top. But her two top aren't the middles ones; nope, she's got her right middle and then another one on the right. So she's a little lop-sided. Her two left ones are almost through to, so she won't be lop-sided for long!

Every morning Katie eats some cereal and a banana for breakfast. She loves, and I mean, loves her banana! While she's eating her cereal she's checking out the fruit bowl to make sure her banana is there. After she's done her cereal I ask her something like, "What now? or Where's your banana?" She gets all excited and looks towards the fruit bowl. Now that she has some top teeth I let her bite the top off the banana and then cut it into smaller pieces. She can almost eat them as fast as I can lay them down. Two hands at once and quite often she'll pick up two pieces at once too! I'm very thankful she's such a quick eater; hopefully it's a habit she won't lose!

I think that's about it for now. If you can't handle the mushy sentimental, don't come back in a month when she turns one... it could be kind of dramatic :P:P

Monday, January 17, 2011

Katie's first Christmas

Pictures speak louder than words and I know ya'll would rather look at them than hear me "talk" so here are pictures from our VMS and teBokkel Christmas get togethers!

VMS Christmas

Trying to figure out who the next one is for!

Look what I got!!!! A doll bed from


New hockey stick for Josh! Perfect for the ice rink his dad built beside their house!

Matching hoodies I made the girls!

Stockings from Uncle Eric & Aunt Becky! Can you say spoiled!?!?

teBokkel Christmas

Aprons my mom made for us two days before!

Nick & Alyce got a 'Smitten'  a mitten in which you can hold hands :-)

What is it Mom?

So special that Katie can know her great Oma and Opa and that they can know her!

Dishes from Grandpa & Grandma. Katie's cousin, Charity got the same set from Grandpa & Grandma VMS. (not even on purpose :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vaccinations Followup

Thanks for all your thoughts everyone! Definitely some more to think about!

Thanks Angelina for clearing up that cell line thing with vaccines. One more item to consider.

Sue, my heart breaks when I think about your foster baby and the shots. I agree that that should not have be done when she was so little!!!! Poor little thing! I'm strongly leaning to follow your example of delaying vaccines.  I would love to borrow your book too!

Just a side note though. I have read though regarding autism that it doesn't appear until 2ish years of age regardless of vaccinations.  I've heard of kids becoming autistic or severely handicapped from just a virus that they got when they were little too. On the otherhand I also read that autism was nonexistant until vaccinations came about.

I read a quote regarding vaccines:

"A single vaccine given to a six-pound newborn is the equivalent of giving a 180-pound adult 30 vaccinations on the same day" Boyd Haley Ph.D

Yikes and double yikes!!It's a scary world!!

Good thing we have a Almight, Omniscient God who holds all things in His hands!

Saturday, January 08, 2011


Hmm... heated topic.

I can't really say what side of the fence I'm on. Well, that's probably not really true. I guess I'm in the "Vaccinate-Your-Child" camp if you could call it that. But I still have half a foot in the "Vaccinations-could-cause-bad-things-and-maybe-aren't-all-they-seem" camp.

I was just at the doctor for Katie's routine checkup and asked about delaying the MMR vaccine. My doctor asked why. I had raised the point at previous visit and mentioned that I had heard about the "link" to autism that was first raised in the 1990's.  Dr. Wakefield, a British researcher, first published his findings in 1998 claiming a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Well that's enough to set you on edge when vaccinating your child.  In 2004 it was said to be false research and as of January 5, 2011 the reasearch that he's done has been totally discounted.

Ok, that so that sets my mind at ease... well mostly at ease. My brain is split: one side says well fine, don't worry, but the other side says... what if??

And here's the other one: Chicken pox vaccine.

Seriously, chicken pox? Apparently it is major cause of flesh-eating disease and a whole bunch of other stuff.  The older you are when you get it, the higher your risk of complications.  Of course the percentages are fairly low or we'd be hearing a lot more about it. But still, chicken pox vaccine? It just kind of goes against the grain, doesn't it? I've heard some mom's say, if their children haven't had chicken pox by the time they're five, get it done. Sounds reasonable.

Ok and the third issue: cells from aborted fetuses are used in the cultivation of some vaccines(chicken pox and MMR to list the common ones). I asked my doctor, and he knew nothing about that. He reasoning was: if it was true it'd be all over the news and the medical journals and he'd know about it. Well I have found a few websites(how reliable they are, I don't know) that support this case. I'm have no pharmaceutical background whatsoever, but I don't just want to naively believe everything they say.  (On a side note, I think things were simpler when we didn't have so much information so readily available at our finger tips, well maybe not simpler, but you know what I mean.)

So, now it's 11:35 on a Saturday night and I've just spent the last hour and a half researching this and have come to the following conclusion:  I still don't know what camp I'm in.  But... and that's a big but!  I do know that God has given us brains to think and use. God has also given us technology and scientific discovery. Times change. Just because we didn't have the vaccines 200 years ago doesn't mean we can't use it now. But just because our world has developed so much doesn't mean we should accept and use all the developments.

So, any advice? Any previously-gleaned information?

So far Katie's had three "normal" vaccines. We plan on vaccinating her with the rest of the "normal" vaccines, but may delay a few or......I don't know!!

I do know this though: it's late,

I'm tired

I can't think and I'm going to bed!

Good night!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Random Ramblings......

Just some ramblings before I forget them...

I took Katie to the doctor today for a regular checkup. She's doing great and weighs 18 .10 lbs. She's 28.5" long too! I'm not sure what percentile she's in, but I'm thinking low for weight and high for height.

Ben is sick, sick sick! Cold, cough, horrible headache, dizziness etc.  Good thing I bought him the Narnia CDs for Christmas!!

I've run up and down the stairs more than 20 times yesterday. That's equal to a third of the way up the Empire State Building from ground level to 102nd floor!

My Christmas tree is still up. I really should take it down, but it looks so pretty. It's not really in the way either so..... maybe some day.....

I made a meal plan for the whole month on Monday.... I've only followed it one day.

I love my doctor! I went for Katie's check up today and asked him to take a look in my ears as one had been plugged for the past few mornings when I woke up. He checked, saw that it was full of wax and send a nurse in to flush it out. No separate appointment, no waiting... just lovely!

Starting off the New Year with sickness in your house is lousy. This is the second year starting off this way. yugh!

I am so thankful that my hubby does the garbage and recycling/compost every week. I had to do it today for the first time since we've been married.... yucky. I'd rather change a poopy diaper than take out the garbage!

My house is tidy with the exception of the kitchen which is a disaster!

I'm juggling a lot of balls in the air right now and feeling a little overwhelmed: sickness, laundry, finishing off year-end for Word & Deed and working on a finance update for the magazine,  keeping my house running, and we haven't even started cleaning the church this week!

I love that it snowed again!! It looks so much prettier when it's all white instead of brown!

I think I've run out of ramblings....

Hope your Friday is a happy one!


Thursday, January 06, 2011


A few weeks ago as I was falling asleep I was praying for patience and guidance each day and this just kind of came to me.  It keeps running through my head so I thought I'd share.

Lord, give me the strength today
To follow the signs on the way
If they say left or right,
Lord, give me the sight
To submit to Your will and Your way

The road may be rugged and rough
The trials be tricky and tough
But I learn day by day
That You know the way
Only You know how much is enough

Lord, give me the patience to see
The person You want me to be
Make me clay in Your hands
To be molded again
So I would be closer to Thee

The day of Your glory shall come
Our faces will shine like the sun
As we fall at Your feet
In Your presence to sweet
And we’ll finally know that we’re home

Saturday, January 01, 2011

10 Months!

I'm a little behind on this post.... not much new to say. Pictures are always better anyways :-)

But for my own memory(so I can remember 10 years from now!), I better write a few things down!

Katie has not joined the ranks of crawling babies.  She can get from sitting to her stomach but hasn't quite figured out how to get her knees under her. She can move on her tummy, but she's not "crawling" as of yet.  She's almost pulling herself up on furniture. She can pull herself up easily enough if she has a good grip on something (ie fingers or clothes.)

She's still taking two naps a day. She's usually down for an hour in the morning from 10am-11am, not necessarily sleeping the entire time, but she's content enough playing until I come and get her. She goes down again 1pm and is usually up again around 3:30/4pm, depending on how much she slept in the morning.

Katie still eats like a piggy, but she's finally packing on some weight! She's by no means fat, but she's get some nice chubby legs, which are very fun to tickle! She's actually really ticklish, but she has to be in the right mood otherwise it really won't do anything. Once she gets going though it's so fun!

Lately she's been doing this funny blink/winking thing where she blinks both eyes at once while scrunching up her face. I've uploaded a video I took a few mornings ago. Ben and I are blinking at her and she's blinking back.

The bottom-left picture below is her winking back at one of us.

I've just started to give Katie a (tupperware) cup of milk a lunch time and usually she drinks it all. Upside: I could be gone all day and not worry about missing a nursing after lunch. Downside: her diapers have definitely got messier and smellier!! yuck!

Other than that, life goes on. Katie is still the most contented kid.... she'll just sit and play with her toys in or out of the playpen.  I keep her toys all in a little basket and she loves to tip over the basket and pull them out one at a time. I have a doctor's appointment for her next week Friday, so I'll find out how much she weighs then: probably more than the 14.9lbs she weighed when she was 7 months!

Yes, in the top-right picture she's sucking her thumb and holding a pizza crust.. don't ask. It's probably a Ben thing :P:P