Dear Hunter @ 5 months

November 2017

Dear Hunter,

Or maybe I should call you Alfalfa! You have 1 long dark hair that stands up in the middle of your head. We smooth it down but it tends to pop back up again. The rest of your hair is much finer, and is more slowly coming in, while this single strand of hair has a mind of its own. It’s really barely noticeable so I don’t cut it, plus I’m sorta interested in how long it will actually get.

You have 99% gotten better from being sick. It just took 4 doctors visits and a 10 course with a nebulizer, but you so rarely cough now that I am calling it a win.

Even while you were sick you were a champ, everyone at daycare said that you were still so happy and smiley. I get to hear great reports of you playing around, being happy, and even starting to hold your bottle on your own now.

You have mastered rolling over. As soon as we lay you down you twist yourself over and push up to see what is going on, and then you can just as quickly flip back over onto your back. I only wish you wouldn’t do that while I was changing your diaper. It’s like trying to change a gator while in a death roll. I usually give up flipping you onto your back and put the diaper on your which ever way you let me while you are on your side or stomach.

Sleep has been rough since you were sick. You get up multiple times at night still, which is okay except that prior to getting sick you were only up 1x, maybe 2x. There were even nights when you would sleep through. Now I just bring you right into bed and you snuggle up next to me while nursing. You are back to sleep a few minutes later, as am I, but we probably should try to get you back to sleep without that being the routine. It would make things easier for me in some ways (I’d probably still need to get up just to pump then), but I sorta just love it at the same time. It’s so nice getting to snuggle with you.

I’m still so much in awe of your chill personality. You are so relaxed and happy. You do get talkative and loud at times, but you are still so happy when you are loudly blabbering and shreaking away.

Can we please slow down time though? I can’t believe that you will be eating foods and sitting up soon. And then crawling… omg. I can’t handle it all speeding by!

I love you.

Love,

Mommy

PS. SORRY Autumn keeps grabbing your head and hugging you. She loves you, she really does, but it’s not a gentle love. I know you will get back at her soon enough!

 

 

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Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

Lila is a tough critic. But she approved of these biscuits.

Lila is one of my friend’s daughters. She is just about a year and a half old and in the year that I’ve known her I’ve gotten stink eye from this adorable little girl more times than I can count. She is the queen at mean muggin’.

But I think I finally broke through to her!!!!

All thanks to these biscuits!!!!!

Autumn and I made them the day before for our family. She is a fantastic little helper and baker. She helped me measure everything into the bowls. We count out the ingredients as we pour them into the bowls. And we she even learning how to propely scoop the floor into the measuring cup too!

That’s why Kid Chef Bakes: The Kids Cookbook for Aspiring Bakers by Lisa Huff is fantastic new cookbook. It has so many recipes that are kid friendly so they will love what you make with them in it. Kids of all ages will love everything from the cookies to the cupcakes to the bars. 

The book is full of clear instructions and lots of beautiful pictures. I love how informative it is for the kids learning the different processes and techniques used in baking. The book starts with different lessons in learning baking skills. It starts with basics likes measuring and moves on to folding ingredients in, and how to work with dough. All really important, interesting, and fun things for kids to try as they develop their kitchen skills.

(To note: Autumn said she would help me with the biscuits, then decided making biscuits at her sandbox/water-table on our lanai was more fun. We co-baked things. ha!)

 

Well, back to little miss Lila!

I was helping out my friend by picking Lila and her bigger sister, who is awesome friends with Autumn, up from daycare and giving them dinner while she hustled back from a meeting from work. I managed to get a smile from her while at daycare as I picked her up from her classroom, but the real moment when she let her guard with me when the kids were eating. She saw some leftover biscuits in a container on our counter and she eagerly pointed to them. While it wasn’t what I had planned on feeding her, I figured an extra biscuit wouldn’t hurt!

She gobbled that biscuit right up!!! I got the cutest smile when she was done and the rest of the night as smooth sailing.

I guess you just can’t resist a really great biscuit. I know I can’t.

This foolproof biscuit recipe is from Lisa Huff’s

To note: I didn’t have a 2″ round cookie or biscuit cutter and my cast iron pan was too small. But I made due with what I ha. And guess what… delicious biscuits.

The moral of the story is to adapt to use the size cutter that you have, or use the pan that you have, or even both! Square biscuits? Cool! 2 Smaller pans? Cool! Do the best that you can and just make it work otherwise.

Just don’t let anything come between you and these awesome biscuits. They are a going to be an instant family favorite!

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2 3⁄4 Cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold, cubed unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup chopped fresh chives*
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Cups cold buttermilk
  • Flour, for the work surface
  • 3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Process 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees . Set the oven rack to the lowest level. Grease a 10 1/2″ cast iron pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chives
  4. Add 1 Cup of buttermilk; stir to loosely combine. Slowly add more buttermilk as necessary until the dough just comes together but is still moist. Do not overwork the dough or the biscuits will come out dense and dry.
  5. Place the dough on a well floured surface. Gently press the dough into a 1″ thick disk. Cut out the biscuits using the round cutter to form the biscuits. If you need to reform the dough into a 1″ thick disk to cut out more biscuits, do so gently so you don’t overwork the dough.
  6. Place the biscuits next to each other in the prepared pan. Bake on the bottom rack for 12 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Brush with the melted butter. Cool slightly before serving.

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Win a copy of Lisa Huff’s new book

Kid Chef Bakes: The Kids Cookbook for Aspiring Bakers

 

Leave a comment telling me what you like to make with your kids or what you liked to make with your parents while growing up.

Ends 11/9/17. Open to US residents only

 

 

Rolo Monkey Bread

“If you can lean, you can clean”

Back when I was a college freshman, working retail, I had a boss who would say that. If he caught anyone leaning against a wall or the column next to the register zoning out he would say that so that they got back to work. And if he caught you, he usually made you clean.

I feel that is my life now.

But I am catching myself and I then mentally freak the fuck out and then try to do 10 things to make up for that ‘clacking off’. I never feel like I can just sit and relax. Even if I am on FB, it’s generally to do something related to the blog account, some side hustle stuff, or the account for the dogs I am trying to figure out how I am going to build.

Or if I am on instagram, I am scrolling through and engaging with people that are niche related and I am

The trifecta of getting ‘ish done is when I am pumping, while sitting at the computer so I can write a blog post and search using a specific platform, earning me extra spending money. Extra points if I am listening to a pod cast and I remembered to plug my phone into the fast charger at the desk.

Life just never feels like it ever slows down.

And, in someways, we aren’t doing that much either. Autumn goes to gymnastics 1x a week and that’s it, but the general life maintenance makes things chaotic. From prepping clothes and bottles for the next day, laundry, walking dogs, cooking dinner and dishes, the week night quickly speeds by and before we know it, it’s time for bed and another day of madness until the weekend comes when we try to tackle bigger projects, hang with friends and family, and maybe even get in a nap.

It just feels that I need a month of no distractions and crap to get really caught up on life, with the things I need to do and just want to do.

But that’s why I am always looking for short cuts for things.

I certainly like to make monkey bread or pies or pizza by scratch, but there are times when it’s just easier to grab some biscuits or a pre-made crust or order take out.

And when you add some chocolate candy to the dough… dessert perfection!!!

I love that the Rolo candy, hidden inside the dough ball, gets all melty and gooey. The cinnamon glaze that envelopes each dough ball is perfect with that sweet caramel and chocolate filling too.

Serve this with some ice cream and you are in for a great dessert treat.

Some people might just think that monkey bread is for breakfast,but I think that you will convince them pretty quickly that it’s great for dessert as well when you serve up this sticky sweet caramel and chocolate treat!!

Rolo Monkey Bread

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 rolls of biscuit dough, 16.3 ounces each (8 biscuits per roll)
  • 32 Rolos
  • 2/3 Cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 Cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cut each biscuit into 2 equal pieces.Stretch each biscuit out
  3. Combine the sugars and cinnamon in a bowl.
  4. Dip each dough ball into the melted butter, then into the sugar mixture.
  5. Place each coated dough ball into the bundt pan. Pour any remaining butter over the dough balls.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and the top pieces are firm.
  7. Let cool for 5 minute before inverting on a serving plate.

 

“Spoiling” your dogs with Pawstruck

As dog owners, we all love to spoil our dogs. It’s just part of being a dog owner.

I use the term ‘spoil’ very loosely, like how I call all dogs ‘puppies’, no matter their age. A 10 year old dog will still get a ‘ooo puppy!’ from me when out in public.

I have found that the best way to spoil my dogs, Kemper and Brinkley, is to head over to Pawstruck for some shopping.

I discovered Pawstruck when browsing for cow hooves on Amazon. They were listed as a seller, so I started to search them out more online.

Guess what, they have plenty of their own products and they sell other favorites of ours as well, like Red Barn. But the best thing was that buying through their online store meant that I was saying money as their products were significantly less money on there than on Amazon. And when Kemper and Brinkley go through hooves as fast as they do, I am in need of saving some money!

Natural Dog Chews

When Kemper was a puppy we picked up a bag of Cow Hooves for him to try and it’s been true love ever since. Brinkley loves them just as much so now we go through our bags of them twice as fast. The best thing about getting them from Pawstruck is that they don’t smell. We picked up some other hooves in the past and they would smell so, so horrible from their processing that I would toss them even before Kemper got to really enjoy them. Kemper and Brink aren’t allowed on the sofa with them, but at least they are enjoying them without making me gag.

Every now and then we give them an extra special treat of the filled hooves. Oh boy!!!

Besides the hooves, they really enjoy bully sticks. We get the braided ones for them as they take their time when chewing on them. They tend to get a bit more slobbery with them so I generally make them sit on the lanai with them. They don’t mind! Fresh air and a treat is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in their books!

 

Dog Treats

Earlier this spring, we had Kemper and Brink boarded at Tampa Bay K9 Solutions for a 3 week training course. Kemper had previous training when he was a puppy and, since we had gotten Brink right before we moved, we had just hoped she would pick them commands  and behaviors from us and Kemper, but that wasn’t the case. They both really needed to have a major refresher in training. We have been working hard to continue to reinforce what they learned so having plenty of treats on hand is really helpful.

Pawstruck has a variety of dog treats including training treats, crunchy treats, jerk, and dental chews.

Side note- we can’t use the dental chews since Kemper doesn’t understand they are to be chewed so once he munches on them and they break in half or so he tries to swallow them. We learned this a few years ago when Price had to fish it out of his throat a few times when he was choking. ooph!

Dog Food

While at training, Brinkley fell in love with the Red Barn Dog Food Rolls. The trainer would cut up pieces of the roll and use it as a training reward as it was healthy, grain free, and an affordable alternative to dog treats. I would check in to see if they dogs needed me to drop off more food and I’d hear how Brinkley was refusing the ($$$!) food I packed and would only eat the food the trainer was providing as a reward. Thanks Brink…

At least she got hooked on a great product and I soon discovered that I could pick it up affordably from Pawstruck. Again, like the cow hooves, I was finding the dog food rolls for significantly less on Pawstruck than on Amazon.

Supplements

To go along with their daily fish oil pills, I was looking for another supplement that would benefit them. Pawstruck has a new Joint and Hip Supplement that we have added to their daily routine.

They are both highly active dogs so wanting to maintain good joint health is key in them remaining happy and healthy. Brinkley already has a funny gait where her front legs pop out a bit when she walks so keeping her joints flexible and healthy is really important.

We get to continue to take plenty of long walks out of these two for many years to come!

Wellness

One of the things that Brinkley has battled with since moving to Florida is a dry nose. I have found that the best solution to manage and treat it is with Pawstruck’s Ruff Relief Moisturizing Nose & Paw Balm. I apply some every few days to the top of her nose and it has cleared up really well. It’s also great for their paws.

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If you want to give Pawstruck, then hop on over and be sure to use the code KEMPERBRINKEY to save 15%.

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While I was provided with product from Pawstruck for this review, all opinions are my own.  Post contains affiliate links. 

 

Dear Hunter @ 4 Months

October 2017

Dear Hunter,

Oh, what a month!

This month was brought to you by the letter S. S FOR STORM AND SICK!!!

First Hurricane Irma hit and then our house was hit with a stupid cold that gave you the deepest saddest cough ever. But you’re a champ and we have powered through it all.

While you won’t remember your first Hurricane I gotta say that you did amazingly well for it all. Thankfully you don’t understand weather forecasts on the news or you probably would have been crazy stressed about the track that was coming right for us. The week before was stressful and tiring for Dad and me. We had so much work to do to prepare for it from getting supplies, moving things around and putting up hurricane shutters. I even went out and picked you up an exersaucer thinking it would help keep you entertained as we dealt with things after the storm, possibly without power.

Autumn understood we kept yalking about a big storm buy didn’t understand what it really meant, she was just excited about us cleaning out the closet under the stairs for us to stay in the night it hit. Slumber party time!!!

Thankfully the track of the Hurricane shifted further east than originally planned so we lucked out. And as the wind dies down I meantally checked off that you had your first Hurricane over and done with.

Soon after, you experienced your first cold. Unfortunately, as I write this, you are still coughing from it. It’s the cough that will never end!

Autumn got sick, then you, then me, then Dad. You even went to the Dr twice. They cleared you of RSV, but later said you had the croup virus,but not full fledged croup. My poor muffin.

So you had been sleeping really well and then it all got flipped upside down because of you being sick. We are still working on things at night but more often than not you are up 2 or 3 times. I really try go get you settled back in the back and play next to the bed but there are some nights when I hold you to keep you propped up or just because I’m so tired I doze off again. And then there are the nights I just bring you right into bed to nurse. You are so accustomed to that now that once you are in/on bed you twist and turn to get into position, even if I’m not laying down with you.

I absolutely love to snuggle with you. But, you do get pretty sweaty, even with the A.C. blasted (making me super cold!) and light clothing on. You’re just going to have to get used to this Florida heat one day!

I am looking forward to you getting better and seeing what the next month holds for you.

Love,

Mommy