Friday, December 28, 2012

Breakfast Cookies!

  I recently found a great recipe for breakfast cookies from Ellie Krieger, who's a healthy cook on the Food Network.  These are so yummy!  I actually take out the sugar and put a tablespoon or two of agave or honey.  The best part about these cookies are that the are really customizable, but the bran flakes are mandatory--they keep the cookie moist.

So yummy and healthy--enjoy!

 Ellie Krieger's Breakfast Cookies
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (1 small jar) strained carrot baby food (or grated carrots, applesauce, pumpkin, or pear baby food--basically something fruit/veggie based to give it moisture
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup bran cereal flakes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a dry skillet for 2 minutes, until fragrant and chopped
  • Anything else you want to add! I add a little chocolate chips, wheat germ, ground flax, and coconut.


Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Combine butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugars have dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute.

Add egg, carrot puree and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add oats, flakes, raisins and walnuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough.

 Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using between 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies.

Wet hands and use palm of hand to flatten cookies until about 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Per cookie (12): Calories: 189; Total Fat: 9.5 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 3 grams; Total carbohydrates: 24 grams; Sugar: 11 grams; Fiber: 2 grams; Cholesterol: 21 milligrams; Sodium: 125 milligrams

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Grandpa Style

   Another OwlyBaby pattern!  She had a 50% off patterns sale, and this was on my wish list!

   It's her Darling Cardigan pattern, made from an old t-shirt--thanks, Cooley Construction! And some white ribbing and old buttons.  Super easy and super cute!
Friday, October 26, 2012

My Little Waitress...

I got a chance to test OwlyBaby's new Playdate dress pattern this week!

  I love to test patterns, because I always learn something new---and I am on a deadline, which is when I actually get focused and productive!

   The pattern itself was pretty easy to follow--I made quite a few mistakes, of course, so I am super happy that it came out looking okay!  Yay! Cosette actually put it on before the buttons were sewn on and refused to take it off, so that's a good sign!

So here is Coco in her cute little dress! I think she looks like a little waitress!

I used some medium-weight pink cotton for the dress, daisy buttons, and a small piece of my precious Japanese patchwork linen for the apron, which Coco calls her "napkin". And uses it as such.
Such a cutie, eh? But this is the real Coco...

Aahhh, 3 year olds! I see more of these dresses in the future for sure--if she is going to act like a zombie/vampire/pony, she needs to look girly doing it!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KCWC Day 2

  For Day 2, I crocheted my 3 year old a cat hat, as she doesn't really need more clothes.

The cat pose!

Okay, maybe she does need more clothes--I just didn't want to sew! She did need a hat, though :)

   After I put the kids to bed, I got way too caught up in a couple of episodes of Walking Dead Season 2 that just got put up on Netflix.  I have a weakness for zombie shows! I crocheted during the extremely scary parts.  This is just your basic beanie with some rough draft ears I attempted and a bow made from crocheting a strip and then wrapping yarn around the center to look like a bow. Tada!

After I put this hat on her, she found some face paint and wanted to be a cat.  She meowed on the couch for a good half hour like this.  Good times...

KCWC Day 1

This week is Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge!

    I always like to play along, because it is fun! Hundreds of people sign up, which is awesome, and kids clothes are a lot easier and quicker to make than adult clothes!

This time around, I have a new(ish) baby to sew for!  Here is what I did on Day 1:
Q is mastering the stand!

    I used Lil Blue Boo's Sienna Dress Pattern as my basic raglan-sleeve tee pattern, just shortening the pattern to make it a shirt.  Then, I used Shwin and Shwin's free Reversible Baby Pants Pattern for the pants, which are a perfect fit for my 8 month old. This entire outfit is upcycled from a pair of shorts and a couple of shirts in the Goodwill pile. Gotta love that!
Monday, October 1, 2012


It's been a while since I've blogged.  My little baby is now a crawler, which means that I can no longer plop him down and go about my random business as he watches me from a sitting position.

Here is what I've realized about myself--there are 12 things that I love or need to do in my free time.

These are:

--Reading for fun
--Reading for enrichment--finance, Hypnobabies required reading, scriptures, etc.
--Watching shows with my hubby
--Practicing Piano
--Attempting to teach myself guitar
--Reviewing my kanji (for fun, because I know I will end up in Japan at some point)
--Looking up new recipes and creating menu plans
-- Memorizing poems
--Searching for and enjoying new music

**I also have a "30 by 30" list I am working on (I will share that later) and am attempting to get my Doctorate in Language Arts in Celestial University (a Relief Society goal-setting program)**

Daily allotted free time for above activities: about 2 hours if everyone sleeps well.
Activities that did not make the cut: blogging (obviously) and surfing the Internet.  Even Pinterest is overwhelming to me lately.

I am trying to find that elusive balance of taking care of myself and taking care of everything else! I think it can be done, and even include blogging, if I am very wise about my "screen time". 

We will see...or, I guess, you will see...if I blog again soon.  I probably will start blogging all the time, now that there are many more things I need to be doing :)
Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Watch, Read, and Listen

I have been immersing myself in English media--hooray!  Of course, I still love you, Monkey Majik!  Just needed a break from trying to learn Japanese lyrics for a while...

Let's start with:

  "So They Say" from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog has been stuck in my head for a week! I guess I asked for that one, though--I've watched Dr. Horrible a few times this past week, since I realized it was on Netflix!  I never get tired of that show, and it's only 45 minutes long!


  A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L'Engel.  Fox has never read them, and I have only read the first one.  I actually wanted to get the set for my birthday but didn't want to pay Amazon's prices ($25).  Well, I found them on eBay and got the whole set for 99 cents (plus $5 shipping)!  Brand new--I can't believe that I actually won a 99 cent bid!  I'm so excited!


  Junky TV!  There really haven't been many movies that I've wanted to see lately.  So, I am watching the Bachelorette--and I make Fox watch it with me.  And then I call my grandma and talk about it with her, so it's a bonding thing with my grandma, you see.

Emily is too cute!  And Arie (that guy) looks like my little brother!
   Fox and I are working our way through Vampire Diaries Season 2 on Netflix as well.  Not that I am a particular fan of vampire stuff--I am just a particular fan of this guy:
Yep, that's Boone from LOST playing the tortured older vampire brother!
 We need a better show, though.  The CW only casts angsty beautiful 30 year olds to play high school students, which gets a little annoying after a while.  I take points off for any show that shows girls waking up in fully-done makeup!

So that's what's been on my media roster lately! Are there any good movies to get excited about?!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Love America!

  Our little family returned to America from Japan 2 months ago.  We came back knowing it was time to return, although we have no job, no car, and no home.  We are living with my parents in a desert city with a skyrocketing crime rate, the highest unemployment percentage in California, and pretty much nothing in the way of entertainment for kids.

And yet, I have never been happier!

  That should say a lot about our living conditions in Japan, or as I like to call it "our year of discomfort".  Don't get me wrong--I love Japan and would even live there again in the right circumstances.

But--there are 3 things here that have really made me love and appreciate America and count my blessings every day that we are back!

1.) Family
My mom playing with her buddy Q
   I have been so lucky and blessed to be able to see at least 1 of my siblings every week since we returned, and of course my wonderful parents on a daily basis.  Everyone who knows my dad knows that he is amazing with babies, so Quincy loves it! My mom is a former 1st grade teacher, so her house is like a little preschool! I missed my brothers and sisters so much, so it is wonderful to see more of them!

2.) Food

  Literally every time I have eaten a meal since our return, I have shouted my praise of America! We went from eating white bread and white rice and cake doughnuts (sadly, the densest snack I could find for my kids that wasn't white rice) to whole grains and almonds and sweet potatoes and salmon burgers.  I am in heaven, and Claussen's pickles, $2 watermelons, and the cereal aisle are my angels.

3.) Books, Magazines, or pretty much anything written in ENGLISH 

    Wow, as I am writing this, I am remembering my deprivation.  I am someone who is very close to her family, definitely a foodie, and a huge book lover.  In Japan, I would get super excited about any random magazine I could get my hands on (even if was Good Housekeeping!) and I would even shell out money to order old issues that had somehow floated down to an expensive import company in Kobe.
  So this magazine junkie is so happy to be around printed materials in English.  I am so excited (well, maybe not that excited) to be able to read nutritional facts of what I eat.  I am so happy to stand in line at the grocery store and flip through magazines I can read, instead of glancing away from the pornographic magazine aisles in Japanese stores. Most importantly, I am so happy to take my kids to the library story time and watch them pick out a stack of books.  It warms my heart.

 I love books in English.

I love O, the Oprah Magazine.  In my opinion, it is the most uplifting, inspiring magazine ever.  She has a section in each magazine about women who create beautiful things and women who quit their corporate jobs to become alpaca farmers and goat milk soap makers!

And I love America!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Books vs. Movies--Wuthering Heights

I recently finished Wuthering Heights, which meant I could watch the film version starring Tom Hardy! I love movies, and even better, I love seeing books made into movies (although I am really scared about seeing Hunger Games, since the books stressed me out). Books and movies are two great joys in my life!

Now, Wuthering Heights the novel is something that took me a while to get into.  I just did not like Catherine or Heathcliff, but in the end, I did enjoy the story and liked how things got resolved. I could respect Heathcliff's love-craziness, although he is pretty evil. (But hello, no mention of Catherine or Isabella's pregnancies until after they have their kids?)

Wuthering Heights the film, as shown on PBS Masterpiece, was total drama, which meant it was amazing!

The film did take quite a lot of liberties with dialogue, love scenes (there are 2 very short sex scenes--be warned!), and Heathcliff's death.  But it did not neglect Catherine's pregnancy, see?

Fox and I watched the movie on Netflix--it was done in 2 parts.  The scenery and music were really good.  Tom Hardy as the brutal Heathcliff and Charlotte Riley as the crazy/selfish Catherine were perfect.  They had really great onscreen chemistry...

And apparently  off-screen!  The two actors met on set and got engaged after filming the movie. That little fact made me super happy, since I just love that stuff!

So that's how you know it's good casting :)  Now, Catherine and Heathcliff have a seriously disturbed relationship, so I still don't understand why Wuthering Heights was required reading in high school (is it still?). However, I did enjoy re-reading it, because of the very great ending with Catherine Jr. and Hareton.  And the movie was even better than the book, so hooray!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Music

A while ago, I asked for help making a music playlist for giving birth and meeting baby.  I got really, really good suggestions!

I ended up making two playlists: meeting baby (for when I was relaxing in the hospital after giving birth) and happy music (creative playlist titles, yes?). The happy music playlist's purpose is to give me a bit of energy after long hours of childcare.

So, I wanted to share my happy music playlist. A lot of the songs are similar-sounding--upbeat with a certain guitar strum that I love.  I created this playlist about a week before I gave birth and played it often before and during my hospital stay.  As a result, Quincy loves this music and gets noticeably more calm and content when I put it on. My other kids love it, too!

Here it is.  I couldn't put it in a cool playlist format like most blogs have, because those sites aren't available in Japan. So, I had to just link to the Youtube videos.

Happy Music Playlist

1.) Rhythm of Love, by Plain White Ts.
2.) Everything's Okay, by Lenka.
3.) All the Pennies, by Mindy Gledhill
4.) Love is Endless, Mozella
5.) Momma's Boy, by Chromeo.  My kids love this one!
6.) Oh, It Is Love, by Hellogoodbye A good old favorite!
7.) Angel, Monkey Majik. We love our Monkey Majik!  I had to include one of my favorites!
8.) Everything at Once, Lenka.  Not super happy music, but it's a fun song. Coco is obsessed.
9.) I Do Adore, by Mindy Gledhill

Enjoy!  And please please share some music you love.  New music is the best!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stashbusting!: Melly Sews' Rose T-shirt Pattern

  As you know, I am trying to use up as much fabric as I can before we leave Japan next month. So, when Melissa of Melly Sews offered up a free pattern of her not-yet-released Rose T-shirt Pattern to those who wanted to test it out, I jumped on the chance to try a new pattern AND use up some of my fabric.

   I made a small and added a bottom band for length.  The pattern was well-written and super easy to follow.  Sewing with jersey knit is great now that I have a stretch needle, but the fabric is a little thin for me. It works, though.  I am in the very awkward post-baby stage where literally 5% of my clothes fit me, so hooray for a free, new shirt!

And can I just say that I am getting my haircut on the way home from the airport once we get to the U.S.  I haven't wanted to get it cut here, where I can't describe what I want very clearly, and now my split ends have split ends.  Really.  So I am so excited for a haircut---and short this time!
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reading Love

Articles: Your Refined Heavenly Home by Douglas Callister is the best church article I have ever read.  I read it often, because it is just so beautiful and well-written.

Books: Wuthering Heights, currently.  I read it in high school and can not remember anything about it.  I love to read books and then watch the film adaptations, so the real reason I'm reading it is to be able to then watch the version with Tom Hardy in it. Not to actually, you know, brush up on the Classics.

Kids' Books: Goodnight iPad.  It's so cute! We Give Books has so many great books on it!

Website/Blog: is fun--click the button and it takes you to a random tutorial.

Poetry: I have challenged myself to memorize a poem a week (as if I didn't need any more distractions from memorizing Japanese kanji).  Last week was Invictus, my Grandpa's favorite poem. This week is Ebeneezer Bleezer, for my kids. I have had these memorized before but then forgot them.  It has been a really good mental project for me while I sit and nurse throughout the day.

Also, this is currently my favorite poem right now. It's beautiful and makes me happy!

I have been daydreaming about American libraries lately...and magazines...
please distract me from thoughts of these luxuries with anything else good to read!
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finished: Hexagon Afghan

Babies LOVE rainbows of color!

  Remember the night I went into labor?  It was just a few hours after finally weaving in the last tails of this hexagon afghan that I had been working on for 7 months.  I have never actually finished an afghan before, although I've started several, so I feel accomplished!  And I learned some things, such as:

1.) Don't buy yarn on the internet. You can't feel it or really see the colors, so you never know what you are really getting.  I am not super thrilled with the yarn I ordered, which is Lion Brand Cotton Ease.  It's really stiff.  Lesson learned.

2.) If you crochet tightly, like myself, better buy a TON more yarn.  This yarn cost me waaay more than I expected, and I expected the afghan to buy waaaay bigger.  It's baby sized...and it took me 7 months. Not cool.  Maybe I need to relax my grip just a bit.

3.) Joining hexagons/squares, etc. as you go using this method is the only way to go.  If I would have known this years earlier, I would not have ended up with garbage bags full of hundreds of un-joined squares.

4.) Working on a super long project can be tiring but is actually really soothing.  I love to watch movies, and I don't feel lazy doing that as long as I am working on something. For that reason (and the fact that crocheting is quiet!), I would love to always have an afghan in progress.

And now that it's finished, I am super happy!  Not with the final product, but with the fact that I actually finished!

My next goal is to use up as much of my craft box as I can before we leave Japan, since space in the luggage is limited.

And also to actually DO some of the stuff that I PIN. You should, too.  You know who you are.
Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baby Viking Says...

"Seriously, Mom? I disapprove."
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This Made My Day!

My friend sent me this video, and it made my day! What a way to use your talents and have fun doing it! I love how the girl on the intercom gets such a kick out of it, too. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Seeking it out!

I'm not gonna lie--circumstances here are stressing me out much more than they are bringing me happiness. Hospital drama, work craziness, being away from family, and just living in Japan in winter in general are all adding up and making me a lot more stressed than I usually am.

On top of that, everything here is so expensive! I get the urge to sew or crochet but can't find any materials that are cheap or suitable for what I want to do. Good thing I am working on an afghan that will be keeping my hands busy for years or I would have serious anxiety issues.

I am not depressed but have realized that life here is full of discomfort, which is a good thing to experience once in a while but over a year, it takes its toll. So, I am seeking out happiness! I started with writing a list of 20 things that made me happy.
Then I read it. Then I realized that I had zero access to most of those things (sweet potatoes, magazines, Mexican food, my cats). Luckily, I do have my fun children and loving husband...and a few other things that bring me great joy that I need to remember, such as:

1.) I can finally get away with washing my hair 1-2 times a week! This may seem gross or not like an accomplishment at all, but I have been working on being able to do this for years! I have tried the no-shampoo method and natural cleansers, but my hair would always get greasy after 2 days. Maybe it is the Japanese shampoo I am using (Lux Super Shine) but my hair very rarely gets greasy like it did in the States. Hooray!

2.) This Being Elmo trailer makes me so happy! Kevin Clash is awesome, and the documentary looks so inspiring!

3.) Zombie Dice!

Fox gave me this game for Christmas (along with perfume called Samurai Woman..rrawr!), and I love it. It is Yahtzee-like and so simple that even my kids can play it. Cash is learning to write numbers and loves to keep score. Oh yes, my kids know all about zombies and find them funny. They know the book "Scooby Doo on Zombie Island" by heart.

4.) Funny pictures on Pinterest. I follow some really funny boards, so Fox and I usually get a really good laugh before we go to bed. Love this one:

So there are some things. What I really need is new music, which makes life so much better. I can not find any good music! Anyone? I can not handle folksy, melancholy music or Adele or anything super sappy at this point in my life. I need good, uptempo, clean, happy music. Or any good acoustic-guitar stuff. Any recommendations?

Blog Template by