Friday, October 30, 2009

A recipe worth posting

Last night for dinner we had Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash.  It was apparently a big hit, because Tim's comment was "this is a recipe worth posting on the blog."  I have to admit, it was quite delicious... and it was super easy.  I served it with collard greens that I sauteed with ginger, garlic, red onion, red and green bell peppers, olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and some crushed red pepper.  I love Fall and all the scrumptious foods that go along with it! Try this yourself - you won't be disappointed!

Here's the recipe (from this website)


2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup uncooked couscous


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Dissolve the sugar in the melted butter. Brush squash with the butter mixture, and keep squash warm while preparing the stuffing.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook 5 minutes. Mix in the garbanzo beans and raisins. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook and stir until vegetables are tender.

Pour the chicken broth into the skillet, and mix in the couscous. Cover skillet, and turn off heat. Allow couscous to absorb liquid for 5 minutes. Stuff squash halves with the skillet mixture to serve.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Walking home from church on Sunday, we stopped in Buchanan Park to introduce Sebastian to leaves. He had his first taste of leaves - both figuratively and literally - and seemed to think it was just grand!


Monday, October 26, 2009


Check out the latest news!  I've won a very special award! :) 
Click on the link below:
CNNBC video

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lil' pumpkin is 5 months old!

Despite my best efforts to stop the clock, or at least make it tick a little slower, Sebastian turned 5 months old yesterday!  Hard to believe!  And even harder to comprehend all that has happened in his short life so far and how much he has changed our lives and brought us JOY in the midst of shorter nights, lots of spit-up, rare fussiness and scares of croup. 
Not only is he growing in size, but he's also developing more and more motor skills, vocal skills and social skills every day.  He likes to try to sit up on his own these days even though he just can't quite support himself for more than a second.  He also rolled over from back to belly last weekend while my friend Tricia was here visiting.  She brought him this toy, and he gleefully chased after it right into a roll.  And then he did it again.  He's also singing and talking lots and loves to laugh his head off when Tim blows bubbles on his belly.  And he really enjoys meeting new people.  He doesn't seem to have fear or inhibitions about strangers, which makes him a lot of friends and I think will be part of his personality as he grows older... just trusting that God will protect him as we teach him good judgment.  We just got him an exersaucer from Craig's List, which he is thrilled about.  He gets to sit up AND play with toys... both of which make him very happy.  It seems ginormous, but at least doesn't seem to have the footprint that I've seen some have. 

Being outside or looking in a mirror or glass seem to be his favorite things to do, especially when he's fussy.  We'll see how it goes with the weather getting colder, because anytime we can't calm him down these days, we walk outside with him and he immediately chills out.  I know I've mentioned this before, but it's an amazing thing to watch.  Just cross over the threshold and instantaneously you have a whole new baby on your hands! 

I had wanted to take Sebastian to a pumpkin patch for some Fall pictures for quite some time now, but we hadn't gotten the chance.  We were hoping to do it this weekend (yesterday), but the forecast was rain, rain, rain.  So, I took advantage of my Thursday afternoon off and tried to take him then, which meant that Tim missed out on the deal, but I had my mom along for some help.  We got to the pumpkin patch and were told that it was closed - only open on weekends - and we could come back on Saturday if it wasn't pouring.  But, I didn't trust the weather report... so for lack of a better option, I took him to Stauffers of Kissel Hill, a local grocery store and garden center, and plopped him down in the middle of one of their displays and did my long awaited photo shoot.  Take a peek at the cutest lil' pumpkin around:

Happy Fall and happy 5 months old!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

the first hike

Last Sunday we took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather and made our way south to Tucquan Glen, where we enjoyed a wonderful hike. We'd taken lots of walks with Sebastian since he was born, but this was his first real hike on a trail. He is so incredibly in awe of nature and so content when he's outside... it's actually our best solution to fussiness. If he's ever fussy and we can't easily calm him, we step outside, and he immediately calms down. Immediately.
Needless to say, Seb was enchanted with the forest. Happy, happy baby! And Grandma Martin was able to join us for the afternoon. It was so refreshing to be outside in nature, listening to the sounds of leaves crunch beneath our feet and water rushing down the stream and over the rocks. Ahhh...!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

hodge podge

It's cold. Brrr... And we took a walk tonight to go pick up something we scored on Craigslist. Fortunately we realized before we stepped outside that Sebastian needed some weatherizing. So we gathered what we could find to keep him warm... a hat made by Catherine, mittens from Deb, BumGenius babylegs from Cotton Babies, a fleece I got on clearance at Old Navy before Seb was even born, socks and a bib from Renee, and slipper shoes from Crystal. Everytime I looked at him, I just had to chuckle cuz he looked so hodge podgey and so stinkin' cute!

Many thanks to all who are helping to keep our baby warm!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Zucchini Brownies

After a long day of working outside painting and putting up the downspouts, I thought Tim & Angel (our nephew) would enjoy a special treat. OK, to be honest, I was craving something sweet, but knew that ice cream was off limits, because I'm only on day 2 of the dairy-free diet (which, by the way, has resulted in very little improvement so far). Either way, it doesn't seem like the guys complained about the scrumptious zucchini brownies. The smell of chocolate pervades the walls of our house right now. So, so yummy! Look at those beautiful morsels!
The guys got their dessert Ala mode while I ate my brownies naked. Still delicious, no matter how you look at it! They were just the right amount of sweetness, super moist and oh - so - good!

If you're tempted, I got the recipe from Simply in Season - this is a fantastic cookbook that encourages local and seasonal cooking.

Here's the recipe:
1 c. flour (I used soft wheat)
3/4 c. whole wheat flour (I used spelt)
1/3 c. baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine in large bowl.

2-3 c. zucchini shredded (I used some I had frozen from our CSA from this summer)
Stir in.

1 egg
3/4 c. sugar (I cut this back to about 1/2 c.)
3/4 c. brown sugar (again, I cut it back to about 1/2 c.)
1/2 c. plain yogurt (I used my own home-made yogurt)
1/2 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine in separate bowl and beat with fork. Stir into zucchini mixture. Spread evenly into greased 9x13 pan.

1/2-1 c. semisweet or mint chocolate chips (I'm sure dark chocolate chips would be fabulous, too, but I didn't have any on hand)
1/2 c nuts chopped optional (I used walnuts)
Sprinkle on top of batter. Bake in preheated oven at 350F until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Just a few thoughts... plus the anti-spitting diet

A random thought: I was taking a walk with Sebastian today through Franklin & Marshall College's campus, when we passed a student, who said - out loud, to himself, I presume - "why am I walking so fast?" Then he slowed down a bit. Hmmm... Makes you wonder, was he trying to smell the roses a bit? I know I sure walked fast back in the day when I was at F&M... there was always so much studying to do!

A hooray thought: Today, por fin, the number on the scale matches the number the day I had a positive pregnancy test. Hooray! The first 30 pounds shed so quickly, but those last three seemed to take forever! I'm sure my addiction to ice cream doesn't help. Sigh. Interesting, however, that despite the numbers being the same, my figure is not so much the same. That child-bearing thing really does transform you, in many, many ways!

And the anti-spitting diet: Speaking of ice cream, I'm a bit saddened to say that I'm going to try to go a week without it, or any other dairy product for that matter. Sebastian is a spitter. A huge spitter. At least he's a happy spitter and not colicky. But he's a fountain that overfloweth constantly. Pretty much the only time he's not spitting up is when he's sleeping. I've told many people that I think he'd probably weight 30 pounds if he didn't spit up. He spits and smiles or laughs. He usually doesn't seem to have signs of reflux, so I'm not convinced that he needs medicine. He's gaining weight well, and isn't fussy for the most part. But nonetheless, I'm on a mission to see if he'll stop spitting (or at least cut down significantly) if I avoid dairy products. I started today, and have already realized how incredibly challenging this might be. I could NEVER be vegan. For breakfast, I had toast with peanut butter and jam and a cup of tea with honey. Not bad. Lunch was a bowl of soup from Trader Joes... I thought it was safe cuz it was tomato and roasted red pepper soup... but I thought I'd read the ingredients - after I had already eaten the soup - only to find the first ingredient was MILK! Then for dinner we went to Spryo Gyro - YUM - and I ordered the Vegetarian Delight, which came with a salad that had feta cheese on top AND in the dressing, not to mention the cheese in the spanakopita! From there we went to Rachel's Creperie for dessert...Tim, our nephew Angel, and I ordered a couple of things to share. I thought a Nutella crepe was safe - til I got home and looked at the label - yep, contains skimmed milk and whey. We also ordered a fresh fruit crepe, and it was smothered with whipped cream. Both were wonderfully delicious, but definitely not dairy free. We shared a smoothie, too, made with frozen yogurt... and I got a decaf coffee, which I drank sans cream. Note: despite the Norwegian blood that runs through my veins, I much prefer to have cafe con leche. So there you have it - my first day of a dairy free diet. I didn't have yogurt, cheese, straight-up milk, cream or ice cream. And I survived. So far.

My mom has always told me that I spit all over the place til I was a year old, so perhaps this is my payback. Like mother, like son? We'll see if any change in the spitting pattern comes out of my efforts at a changed diet. If I recall correctly, my SIL had to cut out dairy products when my niece was a baby, but I can't remember exactly why. And my friend, Steph, had a spitting baby who's just about 3 months younger than Sebastian, but she gave up milk and Baby Kiki stopped spitting so much (but she was fussy with more reflux symptoms). I honestly can't even remember how long Sebastian has been spitting. I'm not sure if it's been going on since day one, or if it started later... but this is my one week trial. We're sure thankful for hardwood floors and leather furniture around here. And even if the milk-free diet doesn't change things, he HAS to grow out of this at some point... at least by the time he's going on his first date (she said hopefully)... which will be when he's about 30 or so, by the way (if he's anything like his father) :).

Wish me well, and pray that I survive the week without ice cream. While I was pregnant, I used the excuse that I needed extra calcium and protein... and now I claim that I'm a nursing mama, and I need the extra calcium and protein (not to mention sugar, fat, etc.). I think deep down, I'm fearful that it might actually work - this milk-free diet thing - and that would mean some sad days ahead for me, but if it made a difference in my little baby's spitting habits, I'd commit to it. Anything for my baby...and the hopes of less laundry!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Round two (or should I say 4) and toes

Sebastian had his 4 month well child check today and his second round of shots. He weighed in at 14 lbs, 12 oz and 25.5 inches. He was a super champ about his shots (always does better than his mom), and he's been chill all afternoon and evening. We spent the afternoon with Erica at Rachel's (the restaurant, not the friend's house), chatting, sipping on latte and chai and eating yummy crepes. Sebastian felt so comfortable in the warmth of Erica's arms that he took his afternoon nap right there - snuggled in her arms.
Over the past two or three weeks, Seb has discovered his toes and chooses them preferentially over anything else that could possibly go in his mouth whenever they're unclothed. He especially loves the toes during bath time! Check out the cutie pie sucking on his toes - I figured out how to make my new BlackBerry take videos.

P.S. Notice the toes heading towards his mouth in the picture on the scale at the doctor's office. Toes, toes, toes - so much fun!
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