Monday, August 18



















We had some wonderful company this weekend.   All of my sister's boys were here.  Molly was in her glory, let me tell you.  Can you even stand those baby cheeks?  And those sweet big cousin smiles?  We even managed to get them all in a picture together.  Besides a few tears shed over stolen toys and  bumped head or two, we still managed.   Phew. 

We're still having those fall temperatures I've been mentioning, which made for the most beautiful weekend outside.  In perfect form, I even managed to make more Applesauce Muffins, some pumpkin cookies for our church picnic, and this homemade pumpkin spice syrup- which tastes delicious (though I can't seem to manage to reproduce the PSL).  I did read that Starbucks is bringing back the PSL earlier this year- if anyone is headed this way, bring me one, will ya?!

We did catch a glimpse of "big sister Molly" this weekend, with baby Ethan around.  I mean, did you see that beaming big cousin?   She loved covering him with every blanket possible, bringing toys (even some not-so-appropriate ones), and talking to him.   It was mostly good, except for the occasional "put the baby down, I need up" or "I want to swing, put the baby on the ground".   My mom said at one point, she didn't have to go potty until the second she picked up Ethan- "I have to go potty now, NeeNee!"  We'll have some adjusting to do, I see..

I've had several people ask me "what are you going to do if Molly doesn't want the baby to stay?"  Well, I know one thing.  We're keeping the baby.  We'll adjust.  We have to, right?  ;)



Thursday, August 14

Wednesdays at Home












The weather around here has been so off for the past month.  Wet and chilly are not typical definitions of August in Pennsylvania.  I'm actually not complaining, though, because my expanding midsection is thankful for temperatures in the 60's and 70's.  But our garden? Not so much.  And my outdoor-loving two year old?  Not so much.  So we started the day with groceries, then headed to the local Amish produce stand for another massive cantaloupe, some beautiful local peaches, and other produce that my garden is failing at growing.  Molly got to pet a horse, take a quick buggy ride (thanks to my outspoken, sometimes borderline inappropriate Mom asking the poor teenage Amish boy for a ride- it was a sight, let me tell you).  All this before the rain started.


The chilly Wednesday started off so quiet and rainy that I could only imagine a comfort food dinner (yes, I'm constantly thinking about food- even more now than before).  And after I made these delicious Applesauce Muffins, only a food so comforting as lasagna could match our day. 


I was nontraditional with this one, though, because I'm still having the worst beef aversion, so I subbed turkey sausage (shhh, don't tell my husband).  And I always forgo precooking lasagna noodles, because I like the texture much more when they bake with the dish.  I add some water, wine or chicken/vegetable stock to the sauce while its cooking, and that always seems to give the perfect amount of flavor to the noodles as they cook. 





Of course, nothing in real life is as easy as these pictures show.  I was disrupted first by an excited pair of cats on my porch, and looked out to see them tossing a HUGE snake.  It was still alive.  They were taking turns batting it while it tried to slither away.  I screamed like crazy woman, scaring the cats, and waking the sleeping toddler.  Of course, she awoke in a fit of screams, because she wasn't quite ready to be awake.  After countless apologies, I showed her the reason for my fit.  Magic!  She stared in awe for the remainder of the lasagna prep.  I actually started feeling bad for the snake.  We won't discuss the end result.

Rather, here's a lasagna recipe.  Maybe I won't be needing it again if the weather ever warms.  But if not, we'll enjoy fall for just a bit longer ;)




Classic Lasagna

Sauce (recipe below):
1 lb turkey sausage
2 15oz cans crushed/diced tomatoes
1 onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2 tblsp sugar
1.5 cup chicken/vegetable stock or water
 
3-4 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 15oz container ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 box lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)
basil, parsley, oregano
salt and pepper

Sauce:  sautee onion in olive oil until translucent, add garlic and cook for a minute or two.  Add turkey sausage and sautee until cooked through.  Add tomatoes, sugar, and stock.  Turn heat to low and bring to a simmer for at least 30 minutes, but longer is better!

In a bowl, beat egg.  Add ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and herbs.  Stir until combined.

In a 9x13" dish, layer sauce first, then top with uncooked lasagna noodles.  Spread ricotta cheese mixture onto noodles, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Repeat with sauce and all layers until noodles are gone.  I like to top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered with foil, at 375F for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until cheese is golden.

Let set a few minutes to sauce thickens, and serve.


Monday, August 11

Weekend





















Ahh, we love weekends.  And sometimes I feel better about Monday falling upon me if I recap our weekend.  

Our walks.   I am 25 weeks pregnant, and gaining weight like, well, a pregnant woman.  Maybe a little faster ;)  But I can still manage the energy to take a walk, and I'm grateful for a toddler who doesn't mind them too much, either.  Molly and I eagerly use the time for a nature hunt.  That girl can pick out a hawk or caterpillar faster than me sometimes!  But take a look at that tree- full of beautiful apples, already!  They're huge, like grocery store huge.  I know it's only August, but Molly and I both can't wait for apple-picking days.  

Naps.  I know I mention them often around here, because I've got an almost 3, going on 8 year old who fights her nap regularly.  But lately?  I think we're getting somewhere.  This picture was right after she lifted her head and said "mummy, I'm going to close my eyes and not cry this time".  Yes!  Sure enough, she woke up two hours later, happy as could be :)

Yard sales.  I've been waiting and asking all summer for Jesse to take a Saturday morning off to join us- I love yard sales.  Jesse thinks I'm crazy.  Molly thinks I'm a genius.  She scored a four inch baby (free! thanks to a sweet yard saling man) and a frog game ($1!).  I got the best deals, though!  Brand new baby socks for 25 cents, and get this:  2 brand new cloth diaper covers (Flip!  a $20 cover) for $2 each!  I'm still researching, but yes, I'm planning the new cloth diaper ways- Bumgenius/Flip cloth diapering.  I'll mention it again when I'm a bit more prepared, but seriously, I scored at that yard sale.  This is why we should go EVERY WEEKEND :)

Amish produce.  And before we got home, we stopped at the local Amish produce stand and got some of the nicest produce for less, even, than Aldi prices.  Seriously, what's better?  We have a garden that's just weeks behind its time due to the rainy summer.  But those Amish always manage to grow some beautiful produce.  Cantaloupe bigger than your head for $2?  Squash for 25 cents?!  We're there.

The Jesus Storybook Bible.  Seriously, the best children's Bible of all time.  Molly LOVES it.  I barely introduced it a few weeks ago, and she begs me to read it over and over.  We read Jonah and the Whale 27 times before bed last night.  I'm not sure I'm even kidding.  And she's really learning from it- she told Jesse the entire story of Jesus' birth- from the angel telling Mary she was pregnant to the 3 Wisemen.  I've never seen her catch onto something so quickly.  I'm so thankful for that book, and I'm telling you.  If you know any sweet children, get them this book.  We love it!

Homemade Waterslides.  Year #2.  My husband is such a wackadoo creative sometimes, and he's been waiting for this day all summer.  As you can see, Molly wasn't complaining much, either.  Too bad I've got a preggo belly- no sliding for me.

Blueberries.  We're in the midst of picking, and of course, we love it.  I made 10 pints of blueberry jam yesterday.  I used two different recipes, because after adding five cups of sugar to the freezer jam recipe, my teeth hurt.  So I found this recipe and added a few basil leaves while it was cooking- it's my favorite!  Not too sweet, lots of tart berry flavor, and a hint of basil.  Plus, it doesn't have the teeth-rotting amount of sugar as the freezer jam, so I won't feel guilty slathering it on Molly's toast (or mine, for that matter).


Have a great week.  I'm trying to watch my calories and carbs this week- I've got that horrible glucose test coming up :/