Thursday, November 18, 2010

An End and a Beginning

Hello friends. I have some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news. It is no secret that I'm not really great at updating my blog. I admit it. Sometimes I neglect my baking blog in favor of updating this one, and more frequently I neglect this blog in favor of updating my baking one, and I'm just not liking the juggling thing anymore. That and the fact that I now have two kids is making me take a look at how to better streamline my life, and I've decided that I need to just maintain one blog. And so I've decided that it is time for both Thought Stew and Baking Becca to rest in peace. At least for now. And instead, I have created a new blog that will be home to both my family-related and random posts (which I used to blog about here) and my baking posts (which I would have blogged about on Baking Becca). That's the good news. I'm not going away, just moving and combining. And I'm not deleting my old blogs so if you want to access any old posts such as past Baking Becca recipes, they will still be in the old places. And who knows, down the road I may start posting again on Baking Becca at least, but until then I just want everything in one place. And that one place will be So head on over, update your links if you have any, and I'll see you over there.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Something Wicked

I don't know what started it, exactly, but I have been so excited for Halloween this year, and especially to decorate for Halloween. I started collecting bottles for the above project about a month ago and have just been itching to finish and display it. In case it's hard to tell from the picture, those are a variety of magical elixirs and potions currently residing on my bookcase. They are bottled in old aftershave, vanilla, syrup, spice, etc. bottles, and one salt shaker, and filled with everything from colored water to old hair gel (in the tall "slug juice" bottle). The labels are from the fabulous Kristine McKay's website, On the same website you can also find labels to make books like these:

All you have to do is print the labels onto parchment paper, cover a book with scrapbook paper (I found some hardback books for 99 cents at a thrift store), stick the label on and mod podge the whole thing. Super easy. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dress Design for Shabby Apple 'Dare to Design' Contest

If any of you are unfamiliar with Shabby Apple, you seriously need to check it out. I love so many of their dresses, so when they announced that they were inviting their readers to design a dress for their upcoming spring line, I thought I'd give it a go just to stretch myself. This is my dress design for Shabby Apple Dresses: The Daffodil Dress. I wish, wish, wish I were a more talented seamstress and then I maybe would have attempted to sew an actual dress to enter because I think it would come across much better, but since they only require a drawing and even that was pushing my talent envelope, I went that route.

The top layer of this dress is crisp white with pin tucks along the front of the bodice. The yellow buttons and belt tie in with the daffodil yellow under-layer that peeks out at the bottom of a full skirt that hits just below the knee. For fabric I am thinking it would be great in cotton or maybe a cotton/spandex blend to give it a little bit of stretch for comfort. While my inspiration led me to make this a white and yellow dress (more on that later), this would also be beautiful in white and Wedgwood blue, white and red, or even white and black. Now for my inspiration:

I can think of few things that make me more excited for spring than seeing these babies popping up out of the snow-covered ground. Daffodils are the quintessential spring flower to me, and dresses always remind me of flowers, so I thought, daffodils = a great spring dress. So now all I have to do is wait for Shabby Apple to pick their 15 favorite designs and if I'm very lucky and am somehow one of those, I will then beg you, dear readers, to vote for my dress on their blog starting October 22nd. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for me. And if I don't make it, maybe it will just inspire me to dust off the old sewing machine and attempt to make this dress for myself. We'll see.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Well it's about time...

...I introduced you to this little cutie:

Meet Caleb, born in June, the sweetest, best natured baby I've ever met (and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mother). I really can't get over what a calm, sweet soul he has. I know I really should have posted about him before now, but the trouble is I used to do my posting during Jonno's nap time, but now I just want to spend that time one-on-one with Caleb--holding him, smelling his head, making him laugh, etc. Or sometimes I have to spend that time doing practical things like laundry or cooking, so my blog has kind of taken the brunt of the neglect.

Here are my two little boys. Jonno has taken a while to adjust. He likes Caleb, but sometimes it's hard when he wants me to play with him but I'm feeding Caleb. He's only made a few attempts on Caleb's life, and none recently, so I think we're making progress.

Now about Caleb's name. We decided to name him Caleb because I came upon the story of Caleb while I was pregnant and couldn't stop thinking about how courageous and humble Caleb was and how I wanted to be like him and have my son grow to be like him. It's not exactly a story you hear or think of all the time, so let me refresh your memory. Or rather, let my have President Spencer W. Kimball refresh your memory because he tells the story so much better than I could because come on, he was a prophet. So here's the story of Caleb in his words:

"Shortly after Moses led Israel out of bondage from Egypt, he sent twelve men to search out the promised land and to bring back word about living conditions there. Caleb and Joshua were among the group. After spending forty days on their mission, the twelve men returned. They brought back figs and pomegranates and a cluster of grapes so large it took two men to carry it between them on a pole.
"The majority of the search party gave a very discouraging report on the promised land and its inhabitants. Although they found a land that was beautiful and desirable and flowing with milk and honey, they also found that the cities were walled and formidable and that the people, the “sons of Anak,” looked like giants. The Israelite scouts said that they felt like grasshoppers in comparison. Caleb, however, saw things a little differently, with what the Lord called “another spirit,” and his account of the journey and their challenges was quite different. He said, “Let us go up at once, and possess [their land]; for we are well able to overcome it” (Num. 13:30).
"Joshua and Caleb were men of great faith, and they joined in urging that the Israelites go immediately, to the promised land, saying:
'If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
'Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for … the Lord is with us: fear them not' (Num. 14:8–9).
"But the faint-hearted Israelites, remembering the security of their Egyptian slavery and lacking faith in God, rejected Caleb and Joshua and sought even to stone them to death.
Because of their lack of faith, the children of Israel were required to spend the next forty years wandering about and eating the dust of the desert, when they might have feasted on milk and honey.
"The Lord decreed that before Israel could enter the land of Canaan, all of the faithless generation who had been freed from bondage must pass away—all go into eternity—all except Joshua and Caleb. For their faith, they were promised that they and their children would live to inhabit the promised land.
"Forty-five years after the twelve men returned from their exploration of the land of promise, when the new generation of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, was completing its conquest of Canaan, Caleb spoke to Joshua:
'Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me … to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
'Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God.
'And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
'As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me [at least in the spirit of the gospel and its call and needs]: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, … both to go out, and to come in' (Josh. 14:7–8, 10–11).
"From Caleb’s example we learn very important lessons. Just as Caleb had to struggle and remain true and faithful to gain his inheritance, so we must remember that, while the Lord has promised us a place in his kingdom, we must ever strive constantly and faithfully so as to be worthy to receive the reward.
"Caleb concluded his moving declaration with a request and a challenge with which my heart finds full sympathy. The Anakims, the giants, were still inhabiting the promised land, and they had to be overcome. Said Caleb, now at 85 years, “Give me this mountain” (Josh. 14:12).
"This is my feeling for the work at this moment. There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, 'Give me this mountain,' give me these challenges."

If I could wish anything for my son it would be that he would face the mountains the Lord will ask him to climb in his lifetime the same way Caleb of old did: "Give me this mountain." Not because he thinks he is strong enough on his own, but because he has faith that with God all things are possible.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Updates, Updates, Updates

I never mean for there to be so much time between posts, but that's just the way it always seems to go. I'm really sorry. Obviously that free T.L. Friday thing wasn't enough to get me to blog consistently. Well, it's about time I posted some updates, the biggest one being that we are expecting another baby on June 9th! I know, I know, I should have posted about this a long time ago, but I kept thinking I needed to make it this exciting, elaborate post and as a result just didn't ever get around to it. So there you have it. It's going to be another boy and Jonathan is so excited. He's always talking about baby brother and showing us tricks that he is going to show baby brother when he gets here, like standing on his head and raising one leg in the air. This is also known as his "hose" pose because whenever he does it he says, "Look! My a hose!" I didn't quite understand this until he started pretending to be a dog and would do it then. Yep...I think he got the idea from watching my sister-in-law's dog Jake go potty. Apparently, Jake has a "hose" attached to him that sprays water. Hmmm.
Rather than just write all my updates, let's take a look at some pictures from the past little while and I'll try to explain what they are as we go. Starting with...

Bike riding. Jonathan is getting better and better at pedaling and steering his little tricycle. With the weather being so nice lately (at least until today. Bleh.), we've been enjoying being outside more. My sister-in-law gave us an old bike trailer so Peter had been fixing up both our old bikes with the plan that we can go for family bike rides. Unfortunately, the first day after he got mine out of the shed, I rode it off a curb with my bum firmly planted on my seat (hey, I'm pregnant--my center of gravity is off, not to mention the extra weight my legs are supposed to support!) and bruised my tailbone pretty darn bad. Ouch. It seriously may have been the most painful injury I have ever had. Here it is a week and a half later and I am just starting to get over wanting to cry every time I move. I still can't sit directly on it. Lame, lame, lame. But that's o.k. because this month we also had...

Easter! This was one of the best Easters so far with Jonathan because he is starting to understand so much. We did our best to talk to him about the true meaning of Easter and he was pretty excited about Jesus being resurrected, but really, the eggs and the candy were his favorite part. He keeps saying the Easter bunny is going to come in the night and bring us more candy. Yeah, he's a little sugar fiend. There was another part of Easter that he loved, though:

Coloring Easter eggs. Really, do you ever get over enjoying this? I know it's still one of my favorite Easter activities.

What's that? You think there must be a story behind this picture? Oh there is, friends. There sure is. Once upon a time Jonathan's large intestine got stretched, so for two months we were to give him a full cap of Miralax a day, followed by another month of a half-capful a day. It pretty much means diarrhea for three months. And the wonderful thing is that these incidents usually happen at naptime and bedtime and his diapers just aren't always able to keep it all in. That's what happened a few weeks ago when Jonathan woke up early from a nap and when I went to get him, I could smell that something was up. As soon as he saw me, he showed me how there was some poop in his bed. Not only in his bed, but smeared on the mesh on two of the crib's sides. I wasn't quite sure how this had happened since from the front his shirt and pants seemed to be clean. Then I turned him around and realized that rather than going down into the diaper like poop should (but doesn't always, as anyone who has ever had a newborn knows), it all came up his back and out of the diaper. I deduced that he must have had his back against one of the sides when it happened and that is how the mesh sides came to be so dirty. Let's look at one up close, shall we?

But wait! There's more! When I walked around to the other side of the crib to see the damage from there, here's what I found:

A delightful little puddle-o-poo. I'm really sorry if this grosses anyone out. I really am not sure I could have handled cleaning this up if it wasn't my own child, but I also kind of had to laugh. And post about it. This is just one of those little moments that keeps parenthood interesting. But it's all worth it for moments like:

This. Ah, my boys. I sure love them. And soon there will be one more!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Free T.L. Friday

Growing up, my mom had this game that she would play with our family called the TL game. It's a very old game and I've never met anyone else that has heard of it outside of our family, but it was fun. Basically, if someone told my mom something nice about one of us, she would tell us that she had a TL for us. We would then have to tell her something nice that someone had said about her, and then she would tell us what nice thing she had heard someone say about us. So pretty much it was a nice way to fish for compliments. But my mom being the kind of person she is, she couldn't stand to wait to give us a TL if we didn't happen to have one to trade with her, so she would always give us our TLs for free. Thanks mom!

Now, the point of the story. Today while I was blow-drying my hair I got to thinking (I always do my best thinking in the shower or while getting ready for the day), I sure do know a lot of wonderful people. People that inspire me and teach me all the time, but I never really let them know just how much they mean to me. So I've decided to change that, dear friends. Every Friday (or at least every Friday that I remember to do it), I'm going to be doing a little giveaway of sorts. A TL giveaway.

No, not that kind of TL, silly. I'm talking good old-fashioned "I heard something nice about you" TLs that I will be giving away about people I know, starting with the authors of the blogs that I read. Now let me warn you that I might fudge a little and have to just tell you compliments that come directly from me since I don't always talk to people that know all of you, but hey, spirit of the law, letter of the law and all that. I hope these free TLs don't embarrass anyone or make them feel bad because they didn't like their TL as well as the one I gave cousin Skeeter. And let me emphasize that they are free, so please don't think you have to tell me something nice to earn them. I just want a chance to let the people in my life know how wonderful they are (if they even read this) and maybe, hopefully, possibly brighten their day a little bit because that's the whole point of TLs. At least the way my mother taught it to me.

So, without further ado, here is this week's free TL for:
My cousin (o.k., first cousin once-removed) Jordan, whose blog I just stumbled onto last week and who probably doesn't even know about my blog, but her TL is still fresh in my mind, so I'm going to use it. Jordan is one of those people who just brightens any room she walks into. The only time I think I've seen her without a huge smile on her face was when she was a baby and didn't know how to smile yet. Last night I was talking to my aunt, who is her grandma, and our conversation, as near as I can recall, went something like this:
Me: Jordan is such a happy person. She's just like a ray of sunshine.
Aunt/Grandma: She really is. Jordan is just uncomplicated. What you see is what you get with her.
So there you go, Jordan, you wonderfully cheerful girl, you. If you ever read this, please know that even though growing up I didn't get to know you quite as well as I did your older sisters, you brightened our family when you joined it, and you inspire me to be a happier, more positive person.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Jonathan, 22 months

I think one of my favorite things about this age is how much Jonathan is able to communicate. I love having conversations like this one that frequently occurs when I go get him up from a nap:
Me: Hey, Jonno! How did you sleep?
Jonathan: Good.
Me: Do you want a snack?
Jonathan: No.
Me: Do you want some milk.
Jonathan: Yeah.
It may not seem like much, but it is a definite improvement over:
Me: Hey, Jonno! How did you sleep?
Jonathan: Waaaa!
Me: Do you want a snack?
Jonathan: Waaaaaa!
Me: Do you want some milk?
Jonathan: Waahaahaaaa!
Even though he has been able to sign for some things that he wants for quite a while, I love that he can actually say so many words to tell me what he wants. Sometimes it's not very convenient, like when he is crying for "monkey" when I am trying to put him down for a nap, meaning he wants to watch Curious George for the 658th time, but it's still so fun. The other night we were driving back from a temple open house with my parents and he kept asking my mom and me, who were sitting in the back with him, to sing to him. We would pick a primary song, and every time we started singing a new one he would look at me in wonder for several seconds, the sweetest smile lighting up his face. I think those are the moments you live for as a mom.

Some of Jonathan's favorite things right now are:

Being outside. Especially if it involves the sandbox or playing with "geegawgeegaw" meaning water. *Note: He actually is starting to say "wa-er" for water instead of "geegawgeegaw." Peter and I are debating whether to encourage the change or not. We just loved "geegawgeegaw" so much!

Playing with cousins. This is a picture of him at one of our weekly play groups with two of my sisters-in-law and their kids. He gets so excited when I ask if he wants to go play with his cousins. He thinks they are the coolest thing ever. Unless they are in his personal-space bubble. Then he tries to push them down.

Finally, grandpa. Jonathan loves both of his grandpas so much. This is one of him with my dad. I think Jonathan would happily be grandpa's shadow 24 hours a day if I let him. I feel so blessed that we have lived close enough for him to get to know them both so well. And really, what better role-models could you ask for?