Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Peach Walnut Bread

Peaches and roasted walnuts tucked away in a delicious bread!

I was recently inspired to make this after a visit to the McKinney Farmers Market.  I sometimes walk there, pushing Hunter in the jogging stroller, as part of my Saturday morning walk.

I came across a vendor who was selling all kinds of breads and after tasting his sample I knew I could recreate it.

Even though summer is technically over, peaches are still in full array at the grocery store. 

First, I peeled, sliced, and diced 3 peaches.

Then I took one cup of chopped walnuts, laid them on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven while it was preheating to 350.  When the oven beeps that the preheating time is over then you can remove your pan of walnuts.  I tossed these with 1 tablespoon of real butter and a little bit of kosher salt.
After I diced the peaches, I mixed them in a bowl with some lemon juice, cinnamon and allspice.  Gotta love how fall is an excuse to spice it up!
Then I made the batter, mixed in the peaches and walnuts, and got this beautiful result.  See those gorgeous flecks of yellow peaches?  Yum!
Peach Walnut Bread by kSk

Peach Walnut Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (used solely on roasted walnuts)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 T sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
3 peaches, peeled, and diced

In a bowl mix the diced peaches with the lemon juice, cinnamon, and allspice.  Set aside.  In the bowl of your mixer, combine butter and brown sugar.  Beat until creamy.  Mix in sour cream and beaten eggs.  In another bowl combine flour and baking soda and then slowly add in to batter.  Fold in peaches and walnuts.  Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes at 350.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Heard Museum

A few weeks ago I was able to get free tickets to the Heard Museum, courtesy of Museum Day.  We had never been and I had always wanted to go since we pass it at least a hundred times as we travel to and from my parent's house.

The Heard is comprised of nature trails, a museum and an animal exhibit.  There are plenty of picnic tables on the property and by the time we left there were several families having a picnic before they set out.

The path less traveled...                                                       Hunter discovered rocks.

Korey and Hunter scaled the ampitheater.  Our boy loves to climb lately!  I caught him trying to climb one of our bookcases at home.

The two pausing after their victory.
We saw lots of beautiful butterflies. We walked through the enclosed butterfly exhibit but all of my pictures turned out dark.  I ended up chasing the butterflies outside. 
And we encountered dinosaurs!  The museum was getting these set up for their Dinosaurs Alive exhibit coming up in Oct.

Me and my sweet boy took time to pause for a pic.
Our family photo. 

Meal Planning Monday

Here's what's cooking up in our house this week:

Monday - Homemade macaroni and cheese and veggies

Tuesday - Roasted Chicken, Veggies, and Pasta with Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Broiled Tilapia with Baked Sweet Potatoes

Friday - Pepperoni Stromboli (made with frozen bread dough)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Once upon a time my husband decided he wanted to illustrate for a living.  Growing up he was always content to be drawing.  Some kids like to read or play video games.  He liked to draw. 

Up until 2010 he had two jobs.  One was a regular ol' day job and the other was being a freelance illustrator.  When we got married in 2008 he was able to build up his business over the next couple of years to where he decided he wanted to quit his day job and be a freelance illustrator full-time.  This was not an overnight decision but came after two years of discussion, budget crunching and prayer.  Shortly after our son was born, he took the plunge, quit his day job, and said goodbye to that steady paycheck.

He has three websites that display his portfolio of work. The biggest one is Childrens Illustrators.  There are over 700 hundred artists all displaying their work.  If you take a look you will see they are all GORGEOUS illustrations.

For Korey to get contacted by a client to illustrate a book, I believe, is a matter of prayer.  Here's why:

When someone decides they have a book they want illustrated they will start scouring portfolio sites to find the illustrator's style that might best capture the characters in their book.  They already have an idea of what the characters will look like.  It's just a matter of finding the illustrator who they think will do the best job.  Did I mention there are over 700 illustrators on just one site? 

Once they find someone they like, as in Korey, they contact him and ask about his prices, etc.  Then Korey will respond with his time frame, price per page, etc.  A lot of his business comes from clients who want a book to be self-published.  It seems everyone has a story to tell.

After Korey responds, we wait.  We pray.  Then we rejoice when they want to proceed.  At this point, Korey sends them a contract and starts working on sketches.

Besides his amazing talent that stands out, I think prayer is the key to his steady stream of clients.

You can see Korey's portfolio here, on Creative Shake, and on Hire an Illustrator.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Sharefish Tale

Here's a glimpse of one of the pictures Korey illustrated for the book, A Sharefish Tale.  It's not published yet but I just had to show off one of the gorgeous illustrations!  I have to brag on my husband because he's got some mad drawing skills! 
A Sharefish Tale

Honduras 2011

Back in April, Korey got contacted by someone to illustrate a book for him.  More on what was involved in this process in another post.  He found out it was for a nonprofit agency, Sharefish.  When Korey found out the author was going to Honduras and taking a group with him, he decided he wanted to go, too. 

I'm borrowing the following from Korey's blog about his trip to Honduras.

"I just got back from a trip to Honduras. I illustrated the book, A Sharefish Tale, for the non profit group The book will be out in print sometime in December or January. The goal is to use the money from the book sale to buy more books for the library in El Corrizo, Honduras.

Sharefish was created as organization to improve education, nutrition, housing, medical and economic opportunities in impoverished communities. Sharefish is currently focused on improving the lives of children in two small communities in southern Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.

On our trip, the goal was to celebrate "Dia del Nino" with the kids. "Dia del Nino" is a national celebration to honor children. The kids were able to make crafts, jump rope, read new books, and draw pictures. I took down some of my Doodlin' Pads to donate to the library.

When the book is available, I will let you know. Below are a few pictures from the trip. My goal as an illustrator is to hopefully do more of these trips. I want my art to be more than a picture. I want to use it to help others."

Here is my husband!
This is a prototype of the book he illustrated.

The kids are in one of the churches drawing pictures.  Every day they would go hang out with the kids, play soccer with them, and give them time to draw.
This was a scene on the busride from the airport.  I love how green it is!

Here is one of the librarys located inside a church in a small town.  Korey said one of the towns they went to only had 300 people in it.  Many of the families can't afford to pay for their children to attend school.  Sharefish is just doing what they can to help further the education of these children so they can have the skills necessary for life.
Korey took this picture for me.  In Thai this is a a tuk tuk.  I rode in one of these taxis when I lived in Thailand.  Not sure what they are called in Honduras.
A typical Honduran home.
This is the founder of Sharefish, Oie (pronounced Owey).  The school gave him an award for his dedication to furthering education.  Through his organization you can sponsor a child so that they can afford to attend school.  Their organization reminds me of what Compassion does.

When Korey got home he talked nonstop about his trip and mentioned going back next year and taking me!

Be a Sharefish!
FROM THE HOMELESS TO THE HOPELESS, THERE IS OVERWHELMING NEED IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, OUR CITY, OUR COUNTRY AND OUR WORLD. We’ve heard the question “How can I possibly help?” and we’ve come up with a simple answer. Share. By sharing something of yourself — a little time, a little money, a little love — you can make a drastic difference in someone’s life. This site gives you the opportunity to share with people in need in Honduras, but you can be a Sharefish anywhere. Put some money in a parking meter that's expiring. Hand a bag of food to a homeless person. Volunteer at the Food Bank. Buy 5 cups from the kid's lemonade stand on the corner. Once you start sharing, the world instantly becomes a better place.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

14 Months

Daddy's home, my camera is back and this kid is walking!  And talking.  He calls the dogs "dog, dog" which I guess is appropriate since we have two.  And banana is "nana."

Here, he is sitting in the rocking chair and somehow he figured out how to rock it himself.  He's getting a kick out of pushing the back of the chair to make it rock.  Genius, I tell you.

He actually posed for us!

Such a sweet face!

And he's off!  He still hasn't figured out the freedom that he has in walking because sometimes he just wants to crawl.  We're so excited about this milestone!  Now if we could just conquer our fears in the church nursery then all would be golden.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

$10 Restaurant Coupons

I am minus my camera for a few days (I do need to pull out the big one) but I just thought I'd mention that I've received two $10 off coupons at restaurants in the past month!

How did I get these?  A long time ago I signed up to receive their emails (also called e-club) so I could get coupons and updates.  Then I got an email asking me to update my profile and for doing that I would receive a $10 coupon. 

Two seconds of time = FREE MONEY!  We're all about free in this house!

The restaurants:

Maggiano's and Uncle Julio's

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lunches: Round Two

From L to R: Animal cookie (Beechnut says it's junk-free), homemade chicken salad (made from leftover roasted chicken), grapes, banana bread, and then cheese crackers. The compartment on the left is empty. I ran out of ideas!

I haven't tried any liquidy foods in these yet like applesauce or yogurt. Knowing Hunter he would fling it everywhere and I'm just looking out for all parties involved.

Amanda's Cheese Crackers

Homemade cheese crackers that are kid-friendly!

Because Hunter is my first child I'm super picky about everything he eats. I read labels. I examine costs. And then I determine that I don't want him eating stuff I can't pronounce.

Plus, I'm now having to make him good lunches twice a week that he can eat without help so I'm on a mission!

I found a recipe back in the DMN by a mom who makes her own cheese crackers. I made these a few months ago for Hunter and he loved them! I decided I needed to make them again to have on hand for his lunches. These are only 6 ingredients and probably would be easier if I had a food processor but since I don't I used my pastry blender to mix these up.

I mixed these up, rolled them out, and cut them all while talking to Korey. I guess that means it wasn't too time or mind-consuming.

I used my mini biscuit cutter to cut these out. They are about two inches in diameter. I was going to use something smaller to cut these but I couldn't find it. I tear these into pieces for his lunch since I'm not there to be in control/supervise. :)

This is the finished product. My point and shoot is not good for food pictures.
Here's the actual recipe with the link above to pretter pictures.

Amanda's Homemade Cheese Crackers

1 1/2 cups flour (all whole wheat or half whole wheat/half white)

3/4 stick cold butter cut into pieces

1 cup grated sharp cheddar

1 egg, beaten

3-4 tablespoons ice-cold water

1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Put flour in a food processor. Place the butter cubes around and pulse a couple of times until the butter is mixed in.
Reserve 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg for brushing on top and mix the rest into the flour. Add a few tablespoons of ice cold water, cheese and salt. Mix until dough forms.
Using a rolling pin, roll dough into 1/8 of an inch thickness. Cut out using whatever shape you want, or cut into strips.
Brush tops with beaten egg. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
Cool and store in an air-tight container.
Amanda Dittlinger
Published in The Dallas Morning News on April 26, 2011

Date Night

Korey and I hoard gift cards. We are hoarders. There I said it. We have been saving a Maggiano's gift card since probably Christmas to use. Well this past weekend we got to use it for a fancy date night in addition to a $10 coupon I got over email from them. We were set. We even got a little dressed up. It was nice to go to a place that didn't involve someone calling your name over a loud speaker to come and pick up your order.

Korey got his favorite appetizer - Calamari - and I/we ordered our favorite dish which is Rigatoni D. You know you think too much about your food budget and how much food costs when you start calculating the cost of the ingredients in the dish and figuring out how you can make it for much cheaper. Hello? Chicken, pasta, button mushrooms, cream, and some white wine. Not expensive! Stay tuned. I will conquer making it.

Our date night pic: This got taken in our car because I have a husband who shys away from making a scene in public. The car was our compromise.

Next time I won't wear my skinny pants. We did enjoy the leftovers for lunch AND dinner the next day. Now that's a yummy bargain.

Bath Time

After dinner, it's bath time which I'm in charge of since Korey does the dishes. After all, I made dinner. I think I've got the easy job!

Bath time means the dogs are near. They like to observe what's going on. And I've had to keep a towel on the floor because Hunter is known to dump water overboard.

See? Camo is never far from Hunter.

Then there's my other baby, Harley. He doesn't like to be far from Camo. Where two or more are gathered, then Harley will come.

After the bath "we" brush our teeth. Lately, Hunter has taken over this duty and doesn't let me help. He's such a big boy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

I have seen Ann's website mentioned on a couple of blogs I read so I decided to check it out. She is a farmer's wife and has six kids. You know she's got to be tired! She wrote a book that I'm currently reading now and it's simply amazing. I'm planning on reading it again once I'm finished because I know there are parts that still need to sink in.

The subtitle reads "A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are." I know for me I'm constantly complaining/whining about not having something or not being where I want to be in life. Ask Korey how much he enjoys this part of me! Well, this book talks about how to be thankful for what you have - now. And it's not written like a self-help book that says, "Do this, think this." It's written very poetically, actually in a style I've never seen before and it just keeps you spellbound. Ann writes it from the point of what she's learned and how she went through this learning process.

I just finished reading a chapter on how she encountered tension between two of her boys and how she had to encourage and remind one that he simply needed to practice changing his attitude. She also encourages him by sharing how he sees her struggling with the same thing. I want to be this kind of mom! One who is constantly striving to be closer to God but also "loudly" (visibly?) teaching her kids the same lessons. To me, she is a female John Piper because you just want to absorb every word but, trust me it's written like it's a poem. Amazing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of Preschool

We sent our baby off to his first day of preschool and of course being the newbie that I am I don't have a picture with his backpack and lunchbox or a picture of his teachers. But here he is before we left the house.

Why am I so scary looking in this pic?

Korey and I both took him this morning and I went in late to work. I felt dumb saying to the teachers that they would never see me bring him or pick him up since I work in Dallas but oh well. When Korey picked him up he said he was playing with the blocks and was excited to see him and wasn't fussy at all. On Sunday mornings when we pick him up he starts crying as soon as he sees us. I'm hoping this is a good start! We got a note saying he rested quietly haha meaning he didn't sleep, poor thing. And he ate most of his lunch. I'm so glad he had a good day!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Square Meal

I recently discovered a news article on these and knew that it would be the perfect thing to use for Hunter's lunch when he goes to preschool. I actually bought it first for a bday gift. And for only $9.95 it was a fantastic deal. Plus, I didn't order them directly from the website because I'm cheap and didn't want to pay shipping but I did find them at a Bedazzled store near my house. I never shop here because it's expensive boutique items. I thought the store might have these marked up above the $9.95 price I saw but I figured I would give it a shot. And they didn't...they were the same price!

For $9.95 I got the box, the painted name on the front, plus they gift wrapped one of them for me I gave out as a birthday gift. At no extra charge! Gotta love that. They also have lunch bags that will hold the boxes but Hunter had already gotten one for his bday so I'm using that.

Apparently the new trend on the internet is making your kids lunch into lunches with themes or using cookie cutters to make fun shapes. See here and here. I'm not sure how far I'll go in trying to be "that mom" but hey I'm not against making his lunch fun. What we do just to encourage our kids to eat!

Since Hunter is only 13 months old and doesn't even comprehend what a shape is and needs his food in small bites I thought he might still like to see his food in a fun container. Plus, I don't have to go searching for multiple containers to put his food in.

Sorry for the flipped pics! There's cheese, waffle bites, cheerios, peas, bananas, and some roast beef on a tortilla that is cut up.

He likes it! The spork came with it and he picked it up right away and started trying to use it.

Haha this picture doesn't show Hunter throwing his food. I just know I'm getting a call on the first day!

Did he eat all of this? No. Did he spit alot of it out? Yes, which is his newest thing if he's not throwing the food or trying to feed it to the dogs. But trust me, by dinner he usually eats a great meal because he's hungry by then.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Super Dad

Hunter: Hey, Grandma and Grandpa where are you going?

G&G: Well Hunter it's our 40th wedding anniversary so we're going on a Mediterranean cruise.

Hunter: Who's going to play with me while you're gone? I don't start preschool until 2 more weeks.

G&G: Your mom and dad of course. See ya!

Hunter: Oh, ok.


Me: Hunter has a fever. Can you take him to the dr tomorrow?

Korey: OK


Hunter: Hey mommy where ya going?

Me: I have to go to work. You get to stay home with Daddy. He is going to take you to the dr.

Hunter: Oh, ok. Mommy why am I so hot? And cold? I don't feel good.

Me: I know baby.

Later that day...

Korey: The nurse asked me how we took his temperature so I told her rectally. I think that's the first time I used the word rectal in front of a stranger.

Me: (After laughing) What did the dr say?

Korey: She said it's not strep but just a virus. It should be over in 3 days.


Me: Hunter your fever is now 103.5. The nurse said we may have to go to the ER if it hits 105.

Me: Korey did the dr say that a day is counted by 24 hours or the day of the week? Is this day 2 or day 3 of the virus? He first had the fever on Sunday. Shouldn't this be over?

Korey: I don't know.

Hunter: zzzzzzzzz

Later that night after his fever came down...

Me: Korey are you coming to bed?

Korey: No, I have to stay up and work. This project has to be done this week.


Me at 7am: Korey what time did you come to bed?

Korey: 4am

Me: You got 3 hours of sleep?

Later that night...

Me: Korey are you coming to bed?

Korey: No, I've got more work to do.


Hunter: How come Daddy doesn't wake up early like I do?

Me: Because he has been staying up late working after he takes care of you all day.

Hunter: I didn't do anything except sleep on his chest all day. I'm just so tired. Must be this hot forehead I have. And he keeps trying to make me drink water. Can you tell him to stop? I just want my bottles back. Then he tried to make me eat a popsicle. It was too cold for me. And what's up with the juicy juicy straw? You know I can only drink from a Capri Sun straw.

Me: According to this digital thermometer that I have used umpteen times on you this week, I think your fever may have broken.

Hunter: Oh, that's good. I do feel better. Can I go play now?

Me (later that day): Hunter what are all these red spots on you? Is it a food allergy?

Hunter: I don't know. I haven't eaten that much this week since I didn't feel good.


Hunter: Mommy I still have these red spots. They are everywhere. What are they?

Me: I don't know. I'll consult Google.

Me: Korey, did he eat anything weird? Could it have been the juicy juice box? Or the wheat toast? Maybe the pomegranate juice in the juice box?

Later that day...

Korey letting out a big sigh: You're home. He won't sit still and he's been off and on cranky all day. Almost like he'll just start having a fit for no reason if he doesn't get his way. I can only concentrate on my work for 3 minutes at a time. And he has red spots on his stomach now.

Me: Hunter let me see your red spots.

Me: Well the closest thing I can find to his rash is that it may be a food allergy. Or scarlet fever. I'm not sure. But I don't think it's scarlet fever although it does say it's a rash that follows strep throat and since he was close to having strep maybe that's it. Maybe not. Or is it hives? I don't think so because it's not raised welts.

Korey: I told my mom and she said it could be roseola.

Me: Ah hah! Roseola. I'll look it up. I didn't think of that one. Yep, Google says he has roseola. I'll call the nurse.

Me: Well the nurse confirmed it's roseola. But she made it sound like it's just a side effect of the fever and it should go away in a few days. I guess that means we can't take him to the birthday party tomorrow.

Later tonight...

Hunter: Mommy, why is Daddy sleeping again?

Me: Because he's been busy helping you get over your sickness this week and trying to work.

Hunter: Oh he should sleep then. He held me alot when I didn't want to play. Cause I didn't feel good.

Korey: (whispers to Hunter)

Hunter: What's that Daddy? You said "I win?" Oh, ok. Mommy, Daddy says I win this week.