that's enough already...

Yep, he's teething again...  (or I guess it never really stops does it?!?)

He's got 8 teeth so far, and now seems to be focusing a lot on the back of his mouth...  possibly one of his top left molars.  (SPARE me!)
I am so ready for all these teeth to be in and the misery to be over with!!  By what age did your kids have  all their teeth in?  (round 1 that is!)


baby wearing daddy

Most of you are aware of my love of baby-wearing.  Besides making my life so much easier (not having to lug around a stroller, etc.) it's also an amazing way to cuddle and bond with my son!

What you may not know is that Andrew enjoys a good baby-wearing session too, every once in a while!  :o)  There's not much cuter, in my opinion, than a dad and his kid snuggling together!

Of course, sometimes there's just nothing like a mommy...  :o)


the dress my boy is wearing...

Ok, so I now feel the need to explain the "dress" that Bjørn is wearing in this picture.
It is, in fact, not a dress, but a sleeping bag.  A wearable blanket that stays with him as he rolls and wiggles all over his crib.

I think this picture shows it better...
We have 2 of these sleeping bags.  Both from Aden + Anaiis, both 100% cotton muslin...  one warm 4-layer for cold nights, and one cool single-layer for warmer nights.  They are heaven.  They are so soft and cozy, and they alleviate the need for me to check in on my baby every 5 minutes to make sure he still is covered by his blankets!

The one in these pictures is the lightweight single-layer one, that we use on warm nights and for naps...  and will use most of the summer!

I will post a picture of the cozy 4-layer one when I get a chance...  it's even cuter, with a bright alphabet print and orange trim!

Now really...  did you actually think I would put my boy in a dress with monkeys all over it??  :o)  Come on now!!


saturday spoiling...

Saturday mornings are my favorite.  We get to spend quality time together as a family, and Andrew spoils us with AMAZING breakfasts!!

This is one of my favorites...  Spicy potatoes with bacon and onions topped with a fried egg (or two!) over-easy.  So yummy!
Are you jealous yet?  ;o)


the picture I love...

Why do I love this picture??  I don't really know!  I just do...
Maybe it's the adorable pajamas (my favorites right now!)...

Maybe it's my oh-so-cozy slippers beckoning politely from the upper corner....

Maybe it's the beautiful, clean (or is it?) hardwood floor in the background...

Or the scattering of toys that show that - a baby lives here!

Really, whatever it is, I just love this picture.   Maybe you can explain it to me?


baby breakfast...

One of Bjørn’s favorite foods, and also the easiest for us to fill him up with (he will eat a whole bowl of this stuff!) is a yogurt/fruit/oatmeal mix that I have been making for him since he started eating solids…

It’s a simple meal that packs a bunch of healthiness, and tastes great too!  (Yep, I eat it too sometimes!  Usually without the oatmeal for me, but not always!)  Store bought baby yogurt is usually chock full of sugar, just like most regular store-bought yogurts, and I like to know exactly what I'm putting in my baby's tummy...

This is really more of a method than a recipe, and you can use any fruit you want!  We use bananas a lot (just mash up one banana with a fork!) and another favorite is homemade low-sugar applesauce.  Add a little cinnamon or nutmeg and you’ve got a great treat!!
Baby Breakfast Recipe

½ cup mashed fruit
¼ cup baby oatmeal
½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg

Mix together well.  Serve!  :o)


an impromptu photo session

Bjørn was being exceptionally cute for the camera the other day, and I was able to catch some great moments with him!  Sometimes I still can't believe this beautiful boy is mine!

Here are a few of my favorite shots...
Check out those eyes...
Aren't they just amazing?!?
And really, there's no better payment for a photo session than a sweet kiss from my baby boy!
Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh....  Life. is. good.


crossing the border...

This week Andrew, Bjørn and I are heading down to Mexico (actually, Bjørn and I are headed down today, and Andrew comes on Thursday!).  No, it's not a vacation...  No, we will not be at (or anywhere near, for that matter!) the beach...  No, we are not going down to build a house!  :o)

What are we doing then?  Well, we are going on a missions trip with a bunch of teens!  We will be doing VBS with the kids every day, we will be working on a building project for the community, we will be doing bible studies, crafts and cooking lessons with the women, and we will be having a youth outreach evening!  We are so excited!!

Andrew has been to Mexico twice before, I have been about 12 times, and this will (obviously) be Bjørn's first time!  Having gone on this trip for so many years, and really growing up with these people, I always feel like part of me is 'going home', and I know Andrew already feels the same way.  There's just something about this kind of experience that grabs your heart and doesn't ever seem to let go...

Can I just tell you how excited I am to see these people that I love... and to hug on these beautiful girls!
I could go on, and on,...  and on.  But I won't.  Feel free to comment here or email me if you want to know more!  And yes, I will post lots of gorgeous pictures and have lots more to say when we get back!  Prayers greatly appreciated!!!

Oh, and I will be posting while I'm gone (ah, the lovely "scheduled posting" feature!), but obviously there won't be many recipes coming up.  I hope to learn some great recipes down there to share with you when I get back, though!  :o)  I can't wait to tell you all about our trip!!


what's with the necklace??

Some babies can pop out a tooth with hardly a fuss.  One day there's no tooth, and the next day you peek in their mouth and see a surprise pearly white staring at you!  Others turn into inconsolable basket-cases for weeks as each and every tooth torturously works it's way through their painful swollen gums.

We were blessed with a baby of the latter type.  I can actually pinpoint the moment of breakthrough for each tooth as Bjørn screams bloody-murder while it pokes its way through his tender gums!

He now has 8 teeth, and we have suffered with him through each of their arrivals.  Needless to say, we are willing to try just about anything to alleviate his pain.

Enter, the necklace...  (I know many of you have noticed it and are wondering what it's all about!)
No, this is not just a cute accessory for Bjørn to wear.  (Although I do think it's adorable on him!)  It is actually an Amber Teething Necklace, and it is supposed to help ease his teething pain.

Amber is a natural analgesic that releases healing oils into the skin to help calm and relax the wearer.  It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for pain relief.  (Feel free to google Amber Teething Necklaces for much more information!)

Now, I can't say at the moment whether or not it works for us, as just after we got it, Bjørn got croup, an ear infection, and then tonsillitis.  Soooooo, we'll see when the next tooth comes through without all the other drama attached!  But it can't hurt, and at this point, we'll try anything!  And don't worry...  I'll keep you posted on our results with the necklace, as we have them!

So, there it is!  That is "what's with the necklace"!  :o)


the one about hair...

Yep.  Hair.

But it's good hair!  It's hair that's growing where it should (as opposed to where this post could have gone so, so wrong...).

My beautiful bald baby is growing hair.  The softest hair you have ever felt, on the most beautiful head you have ever seen.  (No mommy-bias here, I promise!)  :o)

I mean, look at it!
Isn't it gorgeous!  We think he's gonna be a blond...
But of course, we may eat those words.  You never can tell!


mama & baby-friendly smoothie

I am always looking for healthy toddler-friendly foods to serve my son.  And since I don't like to make more work for myself than necessary (who does?), it's always a plus if I can enjoy the same foods myself as well!

Now, I have spinach in this smoothie for many reasons.  One reason is that Bjørn and I are both anemic and need all the iron we can get.  But also, why not sneak more veggies in our foods (for him and for me!) as often as we can?!  I promise you won't be able to tell that it's in there, and you will be so much healthier for it!

I also use that V8 fruit 100% juice stuff, because again...  I like the added veggies.  But feel free to use whatever juice you have on hand!!

Oh, and if you are using something other than plain yogurt, you can leave out the additional sugar in the recipe.  You won't need it!
Mama & Baby-Friendly Smoothie Recipe

1 cup 100% juice
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/3 cup baby or regular oatmeal (I use baby because of the added iron!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar, any kind
2 small bananas (or 1 1/2 large), broken into big chunks
1 cup frozen berries
1 cup frozen chopped spinach

Place ingredients in order into a blender.  Blend on high until smooth and well combined.  Serve!

This smoothie can be easily made ahead and frozen...  Defrost in the fridge overnight!


Pike Place Market

I love food.  I love pictures of food.  I love eating food.  I love everything about food...  especially fresh from the market food!
This is a tiny glimpse of one of my favorite places...  the Pike Place Market in Seattle.
I could walk this market every day and never get tired of it.  All the smells, and sights, and sounds...
all the beautiful produce...
I mean, seriously...  check out these carrots!!  Don't they just make you hungry???
I wish I could take you all on a tour of the market...  really, if you ever get a chance to spend some time in Seattle...  make sure you don't miss the Market!


triple chip cookies

When I feel like my life is out of control, I bake.  Why?  Because baking is my sanity.  Baking brings order to chaos, and brightens a dreary day.

Yesterday, I needed to bake.  I needed to know that I could mix a bunch of carefully measured ingredients together and create something wonderful.  I needed to know that I could do something right, since I couldn't seem to make my son feel better!

These cookies have semi-sweet chocolate, butterscotch and white chocolate chips... all mixed together in a scrumptious chewy, buttery cookie.   Add a big glass of ice cold milk (or better yet, a large vat of steaming black coffee!), and you will find happiness!  At least for a moment...  :o)
Triple Chip Cookies Recipe

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Cream together the butter and sugars in your mixer bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well blended.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, soda and salt and then mix into the butter mixture until just blended.  Stir in the chips.

Scoop by rounded tablespoons onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges.


the short straw

Sometimes I feel like we drew the short straw when it comes to Bjørn's health.  Now, don't get me wrong...  I love my son more than I could have ever imagined and would never trade him, or anything about him, for the world!  But that doesn't mean that I don't wish life was different for him sometimes.

And here's why:  This little boy is sick.  Again.  (yep, that's right...  again!)
I noticed Sunday night that he was very warm, but I didn't want to make him more miserable than he already was, so I didn't take his temperature...  just gave him some Motrin (which didn't work) and cuddled him to sleep (over and over... and over again).

Monday afternoon he was still feeling super hot (and shaky, and fussy, and not eating, and lethargic, and...) and so I finally remembered to take his temp (I know, mom-of-the-year award, right?!) and it was 103.3 underarm (which is something like 104.3 in reality)!

I called his doc and she fit him in for a last minute appointment...  because he's been sick so often lately, and because we are going on a trip next week.   She examined him and quickly discovered that he has a tonsil infection (tonsillitis).

Now, I know this is not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  I mean, things could have been much, much worse for us!  (And I'm sure some of you reading this are thinking "stop whining...  you don't even know how good you have it!")  Trust me, I do know that things could be so much worse!  But for us, this seemingly never-ending cycle of minor-illnesses is exhausting and heart-breaking.

In the last few months, Bjørn has had croup, an ear infection, multiple colds, continuing silent reflux troubles, anemia and now this... tonsillitis.   It seems like he is rarely healthy, happy and whole.  And it's so painful to see my baby so miserable!  I am his mama!  I am supposed to be able to make him feel better!!

Wait, what??  I am supposed to be able to make him feel better? Why is it that my heart tells me that, when I know that it is not me who can make him better, but Him?  All I can do is love him, and cuddle him, and take care of his symptoms.  But I cannot heal him.  I cannot protect him from all the little miseries life has to offer!

So, I will keep on doing what I'm doing.  I will love him, and pray for him, and cuddle him, and be there for him when he needs me.  And I will trust that He Who Is In Control will comfort our hearts and protect our baby!
And we will focus on enjoying the one bright spot in the midst of all the darkness...  all the snuggles!



While we were in the City, Bjørn got to spend lots of QCT (Quality Cuddle Time) with his grandparents.  These are a few of my favorite shots...  
Check out the pure contentment in those eyes...
Ahhh...  grandpa.  Life doesn't get much better than this!
Although I'm thinking grandpa might be a little worn out now?!  :o)



Check these out!!  And please excuse the look of sheer exhaustion on Bjørn's face...  we had a big day yesterday, and he got a new tooth!!  (#8 for those of you keeping track!)
We spent the day in the City with some good friends and my parents, and while we were there Bjørn picked up some stylin' new Crocs!
He loves how bright they are and thinks they are toys on his feet!  I love that they are so lightweight and don't hinder his learning-to-walk!  

And in case you couldn't tell...  yes, orange is one of our favorite colors! 


about an egg...

I love eggs.  Seriously.  I do.  Especially when they are pretty, multi-colored fresh eggs straight from the chickens of a friend!  It doesn't get much better than these...
Aren't they pretty??  If it weren't for having to keep the darn things cold, I would leave them out on my counter for decoration, they're so cute!  (And this picture doesn't do them justice...  if only you could see the pretty blue tint that makes me feel like Martha Stewart just for having them in my house!)

Now, a part of me wanted to just keep them in my fridge to look at (my own personal fridge-arrangement!)... but I just had to try them!  And what better way is there to have an egg than fried in a little butter, and served on some multigrain sourdough toast!?
They were scrumptious.  So flavorful, and bright and fresh-tasting...  I don't know if I will ever be able to go back to boring old grocery-store eggs!

Which leads me to another dilemma...  How can I convince my husband that we NEED chickens??  I mean just think of all the money we would save on eggs alone!!  Advice ladies??  Anyone have to do any convincing to get chickens at their house?  What worked??  :o)


1 month to go...

This sweet boy turned 11 months old yesterday!
I cannot believe he is going to be 1 in less than a month!  

In some ways it feels like we were just bringing him home from the hospital...  and in other ways I can hardly remember our life without him in it!  His hugs are the sweetest thing you have ever felt and my heart melts into a sappy puddle every time he hugs me.  If you are lucky enough to have gotten a hug from him lately, you know exactly how I feel!  

Have I told you lately how much I love being a mama?!

Now the fun of planning my son's first birthday party begins!  Do you have any suggestions or tips for me??  I would love any advice!  Big party?  Little gathering?  Specific theme??  Animal?  Color?  I've (obviously) never done this before...  but I'm looking forward to it!


fully loaded baked potato soup take 2

I love baked potatoes.  So much so that when I'm home alone I often make myself a fully loaded baked potato (or 2!) and call it dinner!  But then there's the issue of all the leftover baked potatoes.  Because, well, I never can say no to those cheap 10 pound bags of potatoes and I also never can bake just one or two at a time! 

Usually I fry up the leftovers (which I also love!), but doing the same thing all the time just gets old.  So, I decided to combine my love of soup with my love of baked potatoes and this is what what born!   

A creamy, rich, but not too heavy baked potato soup with all the fixings!  What a perfect end of winter comfort food!  You could also easily lighten this soup up by using low-fat milk, reduced fat sour cream and a little less bacon.  But you won't find me doing that!  :o)
(and yes, you have seen this recipe before, 
but I updated it a tad and wanted to share it again!)

Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup Recipe

8-10 small-medium baked potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup real bacon bits (from about 1 pound well-done bacon)

Peel and coarsely mash the potatoes. (I like to leave a little bit of peel for looks and texture!)

Pour the milk into a large Dutch oven.  Sprinkle the flour over the milk, whisking it in as you add it, so that there are no lumps.  Heat the flour/milk mixture over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until thick and bubbly.

Turn the heat to low and add the mashed potatoes, spices, salt & pepper, cheese, sour cream and bacon bits. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is thoroughly heated, being careful not to boil!

Serve topped with more shredded cheese and chopped green onions and bacon bits... whatever you put on top of your baked potatoes!


split pea & ham soup

I made this again last night and loved it so much I had to repost it!  Winter is almost over...  so I am getting my fill of soups while I can!  And nothing beats a steaming bowl of split pea soup and a big chunk of sourdough bread!

Split Pea & Ham Soup Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small potatoes, diced
1 large ham hock
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
6-8 cups water
salt & pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 pound ham, diced
1 pound split peas

In a large stockpot, saute the onions, carrots and celery in olive oil until they begin to brown. Season with salt & pepper. Add the garlic and saute for a few seconds. Add in the ham hock, bay leaves, potatoes, stock and water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove the ham hock, shred the meat and return it to the pot. Taste the broth and season with salt & pepper and red pepper flakes.

Add the split peas and the chopped ham and simmer - uncovered - about 1 hour, until the peas are dissolved and the soup is thickened. Remove the bay leaves, and serve with crusty warm bread!



Life is hard.  Life is painful and full of sorrow.  People die.  Others hurt.  We lose people we love, and we wonder how we will ever be able to go on with this life.  Sweet innocent children lose their lives long before their time.

Yet life is also beautiful and full of joy and wonder.   Babies are born.  People are healed.  Second chances are given and new beginnings are found!  Souls are saved, and the loss of one life brings new meaning to the lives of so many.

Sometimes it is so hard to find that joy and wonder... so hard to find peace.  Sometimes life hurts so badly we can hardly breathe.  Other days we are so full of joy and love that we wonder why we have been so blessed!

Today a little girl, Layla Grace, lost the fight for her life.  No, I didn't know her, or her family.  But I do know a mother's heart, and mine broke for Layla's mom.  I can't imagine the pain she is suffering tonight as part of her heart left for Heaven this morning.  I can't imagine having to keep on breathing when even that simple act feels like to much to handle.

 This sweet boy makes my life beautiful.  He gives my life purpose and reminds me of the most important things everyday.  This boy... my son... makes my life worth living.
Sometimes I love him so much my heart aches just from laying him down and walking away from him for a few hours.  I miss him at night, and am so excited to see his sweet smile in the morning.  His laugh is the soundtrack of my life, and I want nothing more than to hear it for years to come!

But I know that life is so precious and fleeting, and all too often we have to let go of our loved ones, even our sweet babes, before we are ready.  I can't imagine that pain... and so I try to cherish each moment with my son, because I know I could lose it all in the blink of an eye.  We all could.

I just pray that if I ever do have to walk that painful path, like so many have, I will be able to have even a glimmer of the strength and faith that Horatio Spafford had when he lost most of his family in a horrible accident.  His words give me strength every day and remind me that It Is Well...


  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.
    • It is well, with my soul,
      It is well, it is well, with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.



chocolate cream pie

Rich chocolate pudding-like filling.  Crunchy chocolate graham cracker crust.  Creamy, fluffy whipped cream.  If you like chocolate, it doesn't get much better than this!

Andrew, Bjorn and I are heading down to Mexico in a few weeks for a missions trip, and one of the things we are doing this year is having some baking lessons.  This is the recipe I have adapted to teach...  I am excited to see if they like it as much as we do!

Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe

6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chocolate chips
7oz graham crackers (about 1 1/2 sleeves or about 30 chocolate wafers)

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

whipped cream, for serving

For the crust:  Place the graham crackers or chocolate wafers into a large ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs.  In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and chocolate chips. Pour the melted chocolate-butter mixture in with the crumbs in the ziploc bag and mix together until everything is evenly moistened.  Press the mixture into a greased 9" glass pie plate.  Freeze until the filling is ready.

For the filling:  In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.  Whisk in the egg yolks to form a thick paste.   Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth.

Turn the burner on medium heat and slowly heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until it has thickened and boiled for about a minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth.  Let the filling sit for about 10 minutes to cool, stirring occasionally.

Pour the filling into your frozen pie crust.  Place the pie in the fridge to set, for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Serve cold with lots of fresh whipped cream!


pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

I was sick this week with a bad case of the flu and at one point lost 5 pounds in 4 hours.  (TMI?  Yes, but you came to me, not the other way around!)

I feel so much better now, and it is my personal goal to see if I can also gain back all 5 pounds in just 4 hours!  (Kidding! But really I have a few guilt-free pounds to gain, that's for sure!)

So, I'm starting with these amazingly moist pumpkin cupcakes that have a perfect cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  So easy and comforting!

(You could also serve these warm with some whipped cinnamon sugar butter instead of frosting, and call them muffins!  Whatever makes you happy!)

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

for the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup butter, melted & cooled slightly
4 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
for the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the cupcakes:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 6 dry ingredients.  In a separate large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, butter and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until just blended.

Scoop into paper-lined muffin tins, about 2/3 full.  (This recipe will make about 24 regular-cupcakes, or 48 mini-cupcakes.)  Bake for 20-25 minutes for regular-sized, or 12-15 minutes for minis, until the cupcakes are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Immediately remove from the pans onto a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.  (You could always serve these warm with cinnamon sugar butter for breakfast and call them muffins!!)

For the frosting:  In a large bowl,  with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until blended.  Spread or pipe on top of the cooled cupcakes!

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