Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Iron Crafting + Pinstrosity Challenge = Crumb Topped Apple PIe

For my birthday Theron and Darla gave me a beautiful stoneware pie dish.  Of course I instantly started itching to make pies.  However I had to decide what kind of pie did I want.  A savory pie like chicken pot pie, or spaghetti pie?  Or what about sweet: chocolate or apple or such?  I flipped through cookbooks, I looked to Pinterest.  Too many yummy things to choose from!

Then I learned the themes for Pinstrosity's and Iron Crafter's first challenges of the year:

Pinstrosity's January Challenge is "A is for..... anything!"  It could be an item that starts with the letter A, or a color, or the material it is made from, or how ever you want to take that.  We are instructed to "Browse through your Pinterest boards, and then your sister's Pinterest boards, and then your high school BFF's Pinterest boards, and then your cat's previous owner's Pinterest boards, and then even the Official Pinstrosity Challenge Pinterest Board (we'll be adding ideas to it all the time) and find pins that fit the theme that inspire you. They can be food, decor, costumes, aprons, painting color schemes, etc. This month's theme leaves things wide open!"  Then we are to do the pin(s) we liked and send in the results, good or bad.

The first Iron Crafter challenge of the year is based on the traditional gifts for a 4 year anniversary (as this is the 4th year they have done the Iron Crafter challenges).  The traditional gifts are fruit or flowers, and the modern gift is appliances.

So something that starts with A, and has to do with fruit, flowers, or appliances.

That settled it.  Apple Pie was on the menu!  I pulled out my new Taste of Home cook book and flipped to the crumb topped apple pie recipe I wanted to try.  Then figured if I am sending it in to Pinstrosity I needed to find the pin... luckily it wasn't too hard to find on the Taste of Home website.

Doesn't that look simply scrumptious?

Here is mine:

We have been trying to cut processed foods out of our diet, so we don't have shortening.  And I haven't bought me any lard to use.  My butter pie crusts haven't turned out as well yet.  So I decided to try coconut oil (in its solid state), since it works well in my biscuit recipe.  Not going to try that again... The coconut oil didn't combine as nicely into the flour, and the crust was super tough.  My butter crusts turn out better.

Everything else I did just as the recipe says.  (Well I kinda patted the crumb topping after I sprinkled it on, so it didn't look as crumb like).

And it was super delicious!!  A major Pin Win in my opinion!

(Iron Crafters, does baking count as crafting?)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Monthly Missions

Instead of having New Year's resolutions, or a 101 things to do list, or a yearly theme/word I am going to take it one month at a time.

I am going to have a theme/virtue/word/habit of the the month that I focus on.  I am not going to plan all 12 months out now.  I am going to take it one month at a time.  During the last week of the month I am planning on evaluating where I am at in life, and seeing what I need to focus on the most, and that will be my next Monthly Mission.

For the month of January I am focusing on Patience.  I actually started this half way through December, but it is one I am still needed much improvement on.  Mostly in the parenting department.
All to often I find myself snapping and yelling at the boys.  I hate it.  I hate being mad/frustrated at them so often.

I was afraid to work on patience.  It seems that when I strive to improve a habit/virtue/etc. God gives me more opportunities to work on my issue.  Even though I feel like if I am given any more opportunities I'll snap and need to be put in a nut house.  I didn't want to have more opportunities to be patient.  I didn't want more opportunities to fail and yell at the boys.  I didn't feel like it was fair to them.

But my level of impatience wasn't fair to them either.  After several nudges and promptings from Heavenly Father, I realized I could take a really long time to learn patience the way I was going.  Or I could go through a relatively short refiner's fire and be better for it.  I could have the patience I need sooner.  After much thought and prayer I decided to go for it.

I have been reading quotes and scriptures on patience.  I've been finding articles about how to be a more patient Mommy and reading through them.

What are you working on this year/month/week?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 A Year in Review

As promised, the answers to the Year End Reflections.  This wasn't as easy to accomplish as I thought it would be.

10 Highlights: Accomplishments, best memories
  1. Zach took me on a hike up in the mountains for my birthday.  It was so nice to be able to spend time just us, visiting about our hopes and dreams for the next year or two.
  2. Having my parents stay the night when they come to town to go to the temple.  We have had fun playing games and visiting.  And the boys love waking up to seeing Grammy and Grandpa at our house.
  3. Theron and Darla took us to Tuscon to go play at Breakers Water Park.  Despite James teething fever we all had a grand ol' time.
  4. Joining the Flikr Iron Crafter group, and actually getting some of my projects done.  It has been nice having the motivation to be creative.
  5. Working on our family motto/mission statement with Zach.  We have been using The Art of Manliness' guide to creating a family mission statement.  It has sparked a lot of deep conversations about who we want to be as a family.  How we want to raise the boys.  It has helped us get to know each other much better.  I plan to blog about the process when we have our mission statement finished.
  6. I made an excellent group of friends, all with kids my kids age.  For me that is a biggie.  I have always been the one to stand back and wait for others to approach me for anything social.  Because I have been able to step out of my comfort zone I have been blessed with some amazing women to befriend.  
  7. I was consistently walking a mile about three times a week for about two months.  I am proud of the fact I kept "showing up for myself" when I really didn't want to go out and walk.  The last month and a half' holidays and schedules temporarily halted the walking, but I plan on starting up again in the next week.
  8. During the summer I read 15+ books in a month and a half.  (The house did get neglected, and I rarely went to bed at a decent time...)  It had been several years since I let myself read more than just the occasional book, and it felt good to binge read so many books.  (Well it felt good mentally... physically, with the lack of sleep, not so much)
  9. I finally found a simple cleaning routine that I like, that is easy to keep up with.
  10. Wyler is finally potty trained!!
10 Disappointments: Failures, missed opportunities
  1. Weight gain... nuff said
  2. I stopped walking with my friends, and I can feel a difference.  I just don't feel as good physically or mentally when I don't get up and move regularly.
  3. I didn't live as intentionally with my boys as I should have.  I didn't go out to the park/outside with them as much as they would have liked.  I used the electronic baby sitter (aka tv) way more than I would have liked.
  4. And to go along with number 3, I spent way to much time on computer
  5. My attempt at selling pumpkin bread failed.
  6. Despite having a great cleaning routine, I still failed at my housekeeping goals.
  7. I have barely used my sourdough starter for the past 4-6 months.
  8. Zach and I watched too much tv in the evenings, instead of working on our projects/goals/talking with each other.
  9. We didn't get our family pictures taken.
  10. I didn't do anything with Montessori because I was too lazy/afraid to try.
3 Game Changers: Unexpected events that shifted your priorities
  1. I made a great group of friends.  Because of them my kids have friends their age.  I went out walking.  I actually have some what of a social life now.
  2. I discovered Matt Stone and DaNelle Wolford, and they changed my ideas of healthy eating.
  3. I won a Kindle Fire in the library's summer adult reading contest.  It was a game changer that wasn't that great for me at first.  It was another form of computer for me to spend way to much time on.  It took longer than it should have for me to realize I was spending waaayyy to much time on the computer.  For awhile I was seriously considering giving it away.  Now the Kindle is a great tool for me to use.
3 Things You Focused On: What you put the most of your time into
  1. I have been working on cutting out processed foods.  I am trying to get us to where we eat good, wholesome, natural foods.
  2. Unfortunately Pinterest and Facebook.  I could spend hours on Pinterest.
  3. Thanks to the Iron Crafter I got back into crafting/creating more regularly.  It feels nice to accomplish something creative.  I would get into a rut/funk and just not want to do anything productive.  But with the Iron Crafter challenges I would get my house work done so that I could work on a fun project.  It helped pull me out of my funks.
3 Things You Forgot: What you didn't get around too
  1. For the past 4-6 months I forgot about my sourdough starter.  It was fed maybe once a month (it's a wonder it is still alive...)
  2. At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted to do an old fashioned/simplified Christmas (home made as much as I could, focusing on giving to others and the not the gimme gimme mentality).  By the time December rolled around I realized I didn't have much time to get things made (I was pretty busy the first two weeks).  Maybe next year...
  3. I have been pretty awful at keeping in touch with family members (Brigham, Nina, Marquette, Diedre, Grandparents).  I follow them all on Facebook, so it kinda feels like I kept in touch, but not really.  There is a difference between casual following on Facebook, and actual good conversations/letters.
Reflection: How Does this inform your plans for next year?

  • In 2015 I plan to live more intentionally.  I plan to be more intentional with housekeeping.  Intentional with raising and teaching my boys.  Intentional in studying and learning the scriptures and the prophets instead of just passively reading/listening to them.  In short, I am not going to be so passive.
  • I am going to strive to eat better, sleep better, and move more.  I am going to focus on living more healthily.
  • I plan to read a good book every now and then.  I need to be sure to exercise my brain along with my body.
  • I am going to continue to create often.  I am planning on continuing with the Iron Crafter to help give me inspiration/ideas on what to work on next.
  • I am going to spend less time with electronics, and more time in the real world with those I love.
  • This year I plan to serve others more, and focus less on myself.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Reflections

In just a couple of days 2014 will be over.  Everyone will be setting their New Year's Resolutions.  Making plans for what they hope to accomplish during the next year.

I've tried the who New Year's Resolutions thing before.  I've tried just a couple simple goals.  A couple years I tried the 50-101 things to do in a year list.  And each year I either forget about my goals by the middle of the second month, or something happens that makes me alter/change/drop my goals.  By the end of the year I feel like nothing much was accomplished.  Another year wasted.

While perusing Pinterest the other day I came across this:

I am looking forward to answering these to help me see what I've accomplished.  To see that while I didn't meet the specific goals I set at the beginning of the year I still managed to do a great deal.

I'll post my answers on New Year's Eve.  I'd love to see your Year End Reflections.  You can either answer this in the comments or post a link to your blog.  (I have no idea how put a link up thingy here...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Toddler Head Banging

I just tucked the boys into bed, turn out the lights, and close the bedroom door behind me.  The house is finally quiet and calm.  Just as I sit on the couch next to Zach a steady "bang, bang, bang" comes from the boys room.  I get up and go look in on the boys.  James, 19 months, is sitting with his back against the closet door, banging his head into it.  I put him in bed, go back out to the living room, and before I can even sit down again the banging starts again.  And it lasts anywhere from 5 - 30 or so minutes.

And this has been going on for months.  Close to a year, with a short 2-3 month break in the middle there.  It started in the playpen.  He would literally rock himself to sleep, but if I tried to rock him to sleep he wouldn't sleep at all.  When we moved him to his floor mattress (he absolutely hated his crib, so we threw the mattress on the floor and he loves it) it temporarily stopped.  After a few months it slowly started to happen again, only this time he didn't have the soft flexible sides of the play pen.  He had hard walls to bang on.  The last 2 - 3 months it has gotten worse.  He will bang his head on the wall until he falls asleep and slumps over onto his side.  If he is lucky he is awake enough to crawl to his bed.

Ok so this wasn't taken after a head banging episode, but it is an example of his barely being in bed asleep... flip him around so his head in in bed and that is as close as he gets after banging his head to sleep.

We didn't know what to do about it.  We knew it was his way of soothing himself, and releasing any pent up energy for bed.  But we weren't sure what to do, other than stopping him when he starts banging so hard it sounds like he's going to punch a hole in the wall.

About a week ago Zach finally looked it up online.  (Why didn't I think to do that sooner?)  According to pretty much the whole first page of Google's search "toddler bangs head on wall" it is a soothing/attention getting/pain coping mechanism.  20% of all toddlers do this, with boys being 3 times more likely to do it than girls.  And it peaks between 18 - 24 months.  

One of the suggestions was to provide some sort of soothing rhythm to serve as an alternative to head banging.  Rocking, massage, music, metronome, etc.  We tried turning on classical music for him, but it didn't slow him down one little bit.  I finally downloaded a metronome app on my Kindle and put that right outside his door.  As soon as I turned it on the head banging stopped.  Didn't happen all night.  Same thing the next night.  Then that next morning when he woke up at 5:50 and started banging his head I turned it on again.  Within about 2 minutes the banging stopped.  It has been amazing how just having that rhythmic clicking is enough for him.  It totally soothes and comforts him.  


The thing about James is that he has always loved rhythm.  He loves music, especially when it has a good strong rhythm to it.  The has been thumping rhythms on tables and boxes since he turned about 1.  When I think about it, it doesn't surprise me at all that the metronome comforts him at night.  But I was amazed at how simple a solution it was.  I found the faster he is banging his head the faster the metronome needs to be going, so I can't just leave it on the same setting every single night. 

If you have a head banger I suggest trying something similar.