Archive for December, 2011

Silent Saturday: Dinner

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

People will ask me “how do you manage to cook dinner with 3 little kids?” Here’s how:

What starts out at this…


ends up looking like this…

New Years Holiday Baking: Eggnog & Cookies!

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Children really are adorable…but sometimes trying to figure out what they are trying to tell/ask you is so complicated….and then, just plain hilarious.

Heidi just came to me and said, “Mom I’m so sinky.” Of course, I respond, “You’re stinky? Do you need a bath?”

She says, “No,mom, I’m sinky.”

Me…”You’re sinking?”

“No, I need a sink,” which is how she pronounces DRINK.

“Oh, you’re thirsty….” LOL.

Last night we busied ourselves making gingerbread and sugar cookie dough. Our cookies may not look as pretty, but they taste delicious and I would recommend the recipes above!

A hint…before refrigerating your dough, divide it and put it in freezer size ziploc bags and roll it out in the bag…the kids can help, it stacks well, and is ready to go when you are – plus it cuts down on flour mess.


Today we did the cutting and baking….

A little eggnog break (see recipe below)…
Drinking Eggnog

…and the decorating…whew, an all day project.
Decorating cookies

Holiday Cookies

We also made Holiday Eggnog. It’s delicious. I would say it is more milknog, than eggnog, but man, it’s good nog and you’ll have to spike it to your liking, as the recipe is kid (and breastfeeding/preggo mama) friendly!

Holiday Eggnog

3 large eggs

1 – 1.5 cups sugar (depends on your level of sweet need)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 quarts milk

2 tablespoons vanilla

2 cups heavy whipping cream

Ground nutmeg and/or cinnamon to taste

In heavy 4-quart saucepan, with wire whisk, beat eggs, sugar and salt until blended. Gradually stir in one quart of milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon well (about 25 minutes) mixture  should be about 170  – 175 F, but do not boil or it will curdle. Pour this mixture into a large bowl; stir in vanilla, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon (or both) and the remaining 1 quart of milk. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.

To serve, in small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. With wire whisk, gently fold whipped cream into milk mixture.

Pour eggnog until chilled 5-quart punch bowl; sprinkle with ground nutmeg or cinnamon.





Happy New Year!
~ Abbie & family

Cloth Diaper Storage

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

I am super excited because I recently (as in today) re-ogranized our cloth diapering area. Yes folks, this is the kind of stuff that excites me. 🙂 Our old system was not very functional and not only made it cumbersome to diaper baby, but it was also rather cumbersome to wash/put clean diapers away. I have been wanting to organize it for a long time to streamline the diapering and laundry process. I finally did it today and my diaper area now looks like this:

Ohhh…ahhhh, right?!? The four metal baskets and the frame were the deal of the day yesterday at Ikea for $9.99! (I love all things Ikea!) They actually hold a surprisingly large amount of diapers and the unit is quite durable. The black metal diaper pail (also from Ikea) is the same one I have used for a long time, it’s just now located in a more convenient spot; next to the diapering area which is so much better than carrying the dirty diapers to the pail like we used to do.

I organized each drawer by type of diaper. My all-in-ones and pre-stuffed pockets are in the top drawer. These are my everyday diapers. The second drawer has my fitteds and covers in it, which are primarily used for overnight diapers. The third drawer is full of random diapering accessories such as wetbags, liners, inserts, changing pad, etc. The bottom drawer is my remaining fitted diapers and of course my Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Remedy.

What I love about this new organization system is that it is in the bathroom! This is highly functional because it’s near running water for using cloth wipes, the toilet for dunking or spraying dirty dipes, and the bathtub for those occasional diaper emergencies when a quick bath would be way more efficient/effective than using a bizillion wipes. I can either change baby on the countertop or on the floor. I have a changing pad I can put out as needed, but I don’t use it every time. The little turquoise basket on the countertop holds our cloth wipes. I can wet them as needed or spray baby’s bum with a water bottle. It feels like everything I need to quickly and neatly cloth diaper is right within hands reach. My son’s clothes are in a dresser right outside the bathroom door so everything to dress baby is nearby too. I love it!!

It’s taken me a while to figure out the best cloth diapering storage area for our house and family’s needs, but I am super stoked about this set-up and wanted to share!  And my favorite part is the total cost was $10!

What does your cloth diaper storage area look like? What do you use to store your diapers? Would love to hear what works for you!



Tasty Tuesday: Vegan ‘Yogurt’

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

One thing my kids really miss eating since going dairy-free a few years ago is yogurt. I will occasionally buy almond, coconut, or soy yogurt for them however it’s an expensive substitute, high in sugar, and comes with a lot of packaging (typically they are only available in single serving containers as opposed to a bulk container option). So I decided to experiment in the kitchen to see if I could come up with a homemade vegan version for them. Much to their delight, here’s what I came up with (adapted from a recipe in Vegan Express):


4 cups sliced strawberries

1 package Silken Tofu (this is the brand I use and I highly recommend if you are going to eat soy products they be non-GMO and organic)

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup sweetener of your choice such sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup. The amount you decide to use will depend on the sweetness of the strawberries and your personal preference.

Dash of vanilla or almond extract


Set 1 cup of slice strawberries aside. Place remaining strawberries, tofu, sugar, and vanilla/almond in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for about an hour. Serve topped with reserved sliced strawberries. You can also add granola, nuts, other types of berries, coconut or any other topping that adds to the deliciousness of this snack.

so easy and so yummy!

So while this recipe mimics the texture and taste of yogurt it does not provide the same health benefits because it lacks the live and active cultures that fermented dairy products contain. One way to increase the nutritional content of this vegan yogurt would be to sprinkle with a probiotic powder as well as topping with a granola that has plenty of healthy seeds in it such as hemp, chia, and/or flaxseeds.

Lastly if you are not familiar with Silken Tofu, it comes in aseptic packages and does not need to be refrigerated. Most health food stores and even well stocked grocery stores carry it. Silken tofu is quite versitile and can be used to replace dairy in many recipes such as deserts, cream-based soups, cream cheese, sour cream, etc. On it’s own it’s pretty much flavorless and can adpapt to the flavor of most any dish you want to make. I have used it to make vegan lasagna, vegan vegetable dips, vegan chocolate pie, and more. One caution is this is not the type of tofu you would use in a stiry fry or the like; it’s too ‘soft’ for that type of dish. It’s best for recipes calling for heavy cream or soft cheeses.





dash of vanilla


Review of Thirsties DUO Wrap

Monday, December 26th, 2011

I recently inherited a stack (27 to be exact) of Mother-ease fitted diapers…while most people inherit financial wealth or antique furniture, I inherit cloth diapers. They were however in awesome shape, barely used, and ready to for business! This was a perfect excuse to get some new diaper covers (not that I ever need that much convincing to try new cloth diapers). 😉 I have had my eye on the Thirsties DUO Wraps for a while now and decided this was the perfect time to try them out so I ordered a few during Mom’s Milk Boutique Black Friday Sale. They are available in both Aplix closure or snaps. As usual I went with the Aplix closure because that’s my personal preference. As for colors/prints, they were selling so quickly that I had limited options so I went with Storm Cloud (love that name!) which is a beautiful periwinkle color. They Thirsties DUO wraps come in two sizes: Size One for babies ages birth to nine months or 6-18 lbs and Size Two for babies ages nine months and up or 18-40 lbs. Each of the two sizes of has three rows of snaps to adjust the rise according to your baby’s shape.

I am a huge fan of Thirsties products so I already had high expectations of the diaper cover; and once again Thirsties did not disappoint! In fact the Thirsties DUO Wrap paired with a Mother-ease fitted diaper is now my favorite overnight diaper which means they can contain a pretty heavy load. And when you are a co-sleeping family  you want to be extra certain you are not going to wake up in a pile of pee so a trusty overnight cloth diaper is a must! Thirsties DUO wraps past the overnight diaper test with flying colors.

In addition to being effective at containing messes, I am super impressed the trim fit of the Thirsties DUO Wrap; it’s perfect for a busy little body that is constantly moving and exploring (toddlerhood here we come!). Trying to get a decent picture of Izzy in his new diaper proved to be quite a challenge because he does.not.stop.moving. Some cloth diapers are so big and bulky they almost impede movement, but not this diaper. It’s great for an active baby. Also with the way Thirsties does their sizing paired with the adjustable rise and aplix closure, it’s like a completely custom fit diaper. And I have learned over time that a properly fitting cloth diaper is largely what determines the effectiveness of the diaper, particularly for those busy toddler years. At 10 months, Izzy is wearing the Size Two on the middle setting of the adjustable rise.

I am very happy to include these covers in my diaper stash! Interestingly enough I have typically favored pocket diapers and All-in-ones, but more and more I find myself reaching for my prefolds/fitteds and covers. The Thirsties DUO Wrap my have played a part in my new found affection for covers. 🙂

Have you tried Thirsties DUO wraps? If so what are your thoughts? Would love your feedback!


Tomorrow’s Tasty Tuesday recipe is for Vegan ‘Yogurt’. Mmmm, yummy!