Happy Birthday Samster

Yesterday, two years ago, at 1:00ish in the morning Samuel was born.  I was so thankful to have those awful 9 months over with and finally get to hold my baby boy in my arms.  Samuel has been such a HUGE delight to us and it was worth the puking every morning.  We love you Sam.

A Dirty “Manger”

Today I read Proverbs 14:4:
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

I have translated it into my own version:                                                                “Where there are no fresh baked goods, the kitchen is clean. But abundant yumminess comes by the strength of the cook.”

Today I didn’t have to leave the house at all.  YAY!  The kids and I made Grapenut Muffins.

1. Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 cup grapenuts. Mix well, cool, stir 1 cup oil in well in grapenuts.

2. Mix 1 1/4 white flour, 1 1/4 wheat flour, 2 1/2 t. baking soda, and    1 t. salt.

3. Beat 2 eggs and 1 cup sugar.  Add dry ingredients.  Stir in 2 cups buttermilk and add 2 cups dry grapenuts (not the ones from step 1).  Mix well.

4. Add grapenut mixture from step 1.

5. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 in greased muffin pans.

*Batter may be refrigerated for several weeks.

Rainy Shopping Day

Today is Thursday, traditionally my “grocery shopping day.”  Last night I made up my menu for the week and this morning I made up my shopping list.  I typically go to three places to buy my groceries (not including what I get at Sam’s Club or the coffee I get Kirk at World Market).  Today dawned as a wet and dreary day.  We’re trying to be really good about staying within our budget lately so I had $50 to spend today.  I figure I can spend $30 on regular stuff and $20 on produce.  First we hit Aldi with is basically caticorner to our house.  I came out of Aldi spending $16 which included two splurge items (yogurt and string cheese).  Next we went to Schnucks where I get my WIC items ($8 worth of milk, eggs, juice, and peanut butter).  I also spent $15 on other items for meals this week but also buying popcorn (on their 10/$10 sale-I got three), wheat germ for granola, and buttermilk for muffins.  I used the rest of my money to buy ICE CREAM!!!  Breyers was having a buy one get one free deal.  Woohoo!  With $20 left and the rain picking up we decided to go ahead to the semi-outdoor Loop Market to get our produce.  I LOVE this market and the people who work there.  They remember me each week, when I hadn’t come for over a year they still remembered me, and one time when I realized I didn’t have any checks with me they let me pay for my produce the following week.  I LOVE THE LOOP MARKET!  We had enough money to buy the necessities and even grapes and a pumpkin to carve next weekend with Aunti Anna.  The kids love going to the market because they get to help pick out produce and even get some for free sometimes.  They get to run around and play.  Today was a blast because they got to play in the pumpkins, the puddles, and the water streaming off the roof.  They came home soaked and super happy.

I was a little nervous about finding new places to shop when we moved to our new house.  I used to do all of my shopping at Shop-N-Save but now it’s not worth the drive.  But I’ve come to really like my Aldi.  I felt a bit intimidated usually being the only white person there but when you go to the same place every week you start to recognize people.  I shopped last week by myself and my cashier asked me where my babies were.  I’ve also really like the Schnucks I go to (on Union), recognizing people who work there.  And everyone seems so friendly.  So as much as I don’t like menu planning or grocery shopping, it’s become a pleasant experience.

Oatmeal Bread

To save money we (by “we” I mean “me”) started making home-made bread. Now I can get bread on WIC but I’m hooked on my More-With-Less Oatmeal Bread recipe. Here it is but make it with caution…you may not be able to turn back.

Combine in large bowl:
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. salt
2 T. margarine
Pour over:
2 c. boiling water
Stir in to combine.
Dissolve:
1 T. dry yeast in
1/2 c. warm water
When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add yeast.
Stir in:
5 c. white flour
When dough is stiff enough to handle, turn onto floured board and knead 5-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punck down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased 9x5x3 pans. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Cool on rack, brushing loaves with margarine for a soft crust.

CookingCraftClub

making mosaics

making mosaics

This was week two of our club and it went off even smoother than last week.  We made beautiful mosaic pictures with torn pieces of construction paper and clipart pictures (I couldn’t draw to save my life).  Then the girls played dress-up.  I realize the benefit of having all girls is that they like to do these same sorts of activities…dress-up and pretending to be different people in a family.  I also realized that it was too much for them to do one structured activity after another, they really just wanted to play.  So after a bit we made Navajo Fry Bread.  I’ve been making it for awhile out of the More with Less cookbook and LOVE it!  It’s fast, easy, yummy, and the kids get to practice kneading dough.  Note to all: knead the dough yourself before you give it out or everyone gets sticky dough all over the place.

But in other news: I’m so thankful for racial diversity!  I grew up as a missionary kid in Kenya.  I was so shocked by the conversations about racism that hit me when I moved back to the US.  Sure, Kenya has racism but it just seemed so out of the blue to me when I moved here for college.  I am so thankful that my kids are growing up in a racially diverse neighborhood.  Well…at least our moving here has made it racially diverse.  Joanna’s “neighbor friends,” as she calls them, are all black.  Our craft club I realized today has Joanna (white), Aissa (bi-racial), and Maya (African American) in it.  I realized today that we make up the New City emblem.  I’m so glad that Joanna is learning to recognize that God has made people of all different colors and that that is a wonderful gift that we get to enjoy.