Mom Up or Go Home

Blogger Here I Come!

Like many bloggers before me, I am packing up my wordpress blog and heading for greener posts through blogger. Please click over and join me at my new location. I’ve been doing a lot of work and I’d love you to see what’s come of it! I will continue to post of Casein Free Cooking, Crafts, Parenting, and all the joys that come along with these!

Spaghetti Squash & Marinara Sauce, Oh and Homemade French Bread!

There are many things in which I’ve learned recently. One of which is how to spell Spaghetti.

This staying at home mothering is really getting to my kitchen lately. I’m so glad to be able give my dear husband the relief he earned after 10 months of dinner cooking last year by cooking for he and my son starting NOW. With Boomba’s allergy to casein home cooking is basically the only way to go ’round here. I’m having a lot of fun networking and researching, learning and experimenting to accommodate this challenge.

I have also acquired a large variety of garden vegetables from my new neighbors! These two factoids added together equals a whole new plate full of who knows what at the dinner table.

When I was handed the Spaghetti Squash I was only thinking thankful thoughts. After is sat in my kitchen a few days and the cookbooks turned up nothing in the index I had a stare down. Then I called my Pastor’s wife. She admitted after her cookbook came up blank after her searches that she treated it like any other squash and put the ole’ brown sugar butter to it and desserted it up. And there it was. A sweet treat! I can do that. Husband will like it too. But as my fingers clickity clacked I realized there is much more to this squash then it was letting on. It was bound for greatness. It was designed to be a Gluten Free dieter’s dream. It was to replace the pasta in Spaghetti. I think this is true. After I found a random recipe and announce I would try it many of my friends encouraged that they too make this vary dish for their deserving families.
My googleing and researching turned up this recipe.

I’m not going to lie. Especially after I committed to quick making French Bread I did not make homemade marina sauce- I grabbed a Prego Chunky Garden Veggie and delighted in it. That brings us my my very first ever homemade bread adventure: French Bread! Husband is a bread maker. He digs that. It’s always been his thing. I may have committed theft here. Try this.

The recipe made two loafs so I froze one for later. 10 points for Winter Mommy! This was a little dense. One of the loafs I reshaped a second time so I think this one was that one and that’s the reason it wasn’t as fluffy as I dreamed. But dang- was it yummy. Smelled soooooo good. It looked good too. See:

Homemade Basil Noodles

I finally did it. After literally a year of pondering, I did it.
I made homemade noodles!
I used this site as a guide.
Check it out.

I read many different tips. Some say knead the dough for 5 minutes, some say knead it till your backside sweats and then keep going. I collected the general consensus agreed that the more kneading, the better. As I was mixing the ingredients I sprinkled a healthy amount of dried basil in there too. Good thing I did because otherwise they would have been rather flavorless. It was not as hard as I imagined and I did it all by hand- no rolling machine involved. Still easier than I imagined!

You may have noticed that this blogger measures in grams and ounces. He’s English. I’m American. I was lost. Thank God for Google search “conversions” and a little sticky math. Here’s my version of his recipe:

1 1/2c plain ole’ flour
2 lg eggs
Salt -pinch
Dried Basil -hearty sprinkle

There, now that’s an American Recipe.

Here’s how it all went down:

Mix dry ingredients and make a well for your eggs. This is where I sprinkled those yummy little dried basil leaves in. Get your hands in there and turn that lovely pile into a sticky doughy mess! Lightly flour the surface and knead till your back side sweats aka at least 10-15 minutes. I’ve read this is where it’s all at: the knead. You want an elastic but tough and smooth dough.

Roll this hummer out till it’s thinner than a dime! whew. Yea that’s right- THIN. Continue to flour the surface if needed, and use the rolling-pin as a way to flip the thinning dough by rolling it onto itself an then off again.

Roll the dough into one big fairly taught roll and cut into 1/4 inch wide noodles. Shake out the curly Q’s and cut at desired length. I’ve read you can boil them immediately, otherwise lay them over a chair back to dry. I just left them on the counter till dinner time… They only take literally a couple of minutes to cook- so CAREFUL! Theses aren’t your store packaged noodles.

Wool Dryer Balls: How To & Review

I learned of Wool Dryer Balls about 4 minutes before I decided I was making them. It all stemmed from trying to find a way to soften my son’s cloth diapers. I was looking for the as seen on tv rubber jobbies and I quickly read about using tennis balls. Momentarily after the tennis ball incident I clicked on a lovely page that I cannot find at the moment that described Wool Dryer Balls and why in the world anyone would use them. Here’s my impromptu run down on why and how:

Dryer Balls Rock because:

-They beat your clothes up, but in a nice way, softening them (nearly as well as the chemicals in fabric softening sheets do).
-As they bounce around the dryer they heat up and disperse the heat while separating clothes thus lessening dryer time.
-Speaking of bouncing- they really are not that loud. In fact they are a nice little tumble in the background.
-They are Hug-A-Treeable, as green as it gets.
-The natural oils found in the wool act as a natural (safe) softener for clothes
-Cloth diaper safe (let’s mention point number 2 again: Lessens dryer time!)
-Cute (Yea I’m grasping here- but I get a certain joy out of seeing them sit perfectly in my basket reminding me they are ready to tumble when I am). Honestly.
-Easy to make

What are these things anyway?

Wool Dryer Balls are balls made of wound wool yarn that have been felted. By using 6-8 balls in your dryer they eliminate the need for any softener (liquid or sheets) plus give you the other benefits listed above.  I used Lion’s Brand Fisherman’s Wool. It was about $10-15 for a skein at Hobby Lobby. I really should have displayed some patience and waited for a 50% coupon to come in the mail. I’ve noticed you can also find this yarn online- that might be worth doing the price comparison on. I also bought a very very small crotchet hook for about $1. You will also need an old nylon and I’ve read that an old light weight sock will work too.


1 Skein of 100% natural wool (no polyester here, folks).
1 crotchet hook
1 old nylon/pantyhose (cut the leg of one to use)

Do it:

Take the yarn and pull it from the skein so you have plenty of yarn to work with (you’ll be doing this repeatedly). Between your pointer finger and thumb wrap a few rounds of 1 inch long ovals. Now you have something to wrap around to create a ball! Begin wrapping the yarn around the long skinny oval loop you made and continue rotating the wool ball as you go so it’s evenly wrapped. Wrap until the ball is about 5 inches in diameter.  Cut the yarn leaving a few inches. Take your crotchet hook and pull the end through the other end of the ball to secure the tail. Repeat until you have 6-8 balls. One 8oz. skein made 6 dryer balls plus I have extra that may or may not be able to make a 7th. After all of the balls are complete and secured, put them into the leg of a nylon one at a time and I just tied the nylon off after each one was inserted- like a sausage link. Throw this wool ball caterpillar into a regular load of wash and toss it into the dryer with the same load. Wash as normal. I did this twice to felt the balls twice. Felting sort of seals the surface of the ball. I’ve read that it can be suggested to take the balls and wrap them again and basically repeat this process. I did not and I like my dryer balls like they are. Oh and plan on noticing a little shrinkage after they are felted.

Wool Dryer Ball Real-Life Review:

Bottom line- LOVE THEM!

But seriously. The only complaint I can muster up is that after several uses there is a bit of piling on the balls. These lint bunnies can be sweater shaved off or just yanked off. Otherwise I am astounded at the dryer time that is cut by using these. I must say that the softness of the clothes is not *as* soft as when I used dryer sheets, but I hate crunchy clothes and these are pretty soft! The noise level of the balls tumbling around is not too bad. I used to have an apartment sized washer and dryer in my kitchen-right between my kitchen and living room and it really didn’t add much noise. A gentle tumble is all I noticed. I’ve been line drying my cloth diapers recently but when i was drying them I think the ball worked great.

What are your thoughts on dryer balls? Do you have any questions?

Work Hard, Play Hard.
June 14, 2011, 2:13 pm
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Two weeks and counting until we pull out of our 2 year home and travel to our new home in Nebraska. We’ve got a garage sale this weekend and then it’s the countdown!

Amidst the boxes piling up and the lists and lists of whom to call and addresses to change and what To Do’s, little Boomba reminds of something very important.

Right around the time of day where a lazy itch starts spreading and we realize the day is too perfect to let get away just yet, we remember. There is a toddler sized playscape at my husband’s school and Boomba can run free and slide, climb, and crawl till he’s tuckered out.

I’m always resistant, at first, to leave the indoor world inside the haze of packing-frenzy and go play. Boy am I sure glad the my son and husband commit to convincing me otherwise. We work hard and in return must remember to play equally as hard!

While Boomba runs free at the playscape Husband and I play a vigorous round of catch. I love the instant success a captured baseball in a glove returns. We’ve learned that the sun is a needed daily dose in our house. We all feel so much better after the Vitamin D and fresh air medicate us.

Who Needs Can Openers Anyway?
June 10, 2011, 9:12 pm
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Yesterday was my last day of work. That makes today my first day of being a Stay at Home Mom (SaHM). I stayed at home with Boomba until he was about 9 months old. Now he’s 19 months old and the school year is over and we’re a’moving to Nebraska! I thought long and hard of what my first day of staying at home would bring. Would we sleep all day and do nothing -because we can? Would we have 3 play dates in one day-because we can? We had a nice morning and decided on the fly to go to the library and see what we could find.

I’ve also been thinking long and hard about what my husband’s first dinner would be from his Stay at Home Wife. Steaks? Glazed Ham? I’m sure he didn’t care as long as he didn’t have to make it! He’s been such a trooper cooking every night of the last 10 months! I dug through my recipes and decided a Spicy Chili Cornbread Casserole was a nice choice.

The meat was browning

The seasonings were dancing and creating the perfect blend.

Problem: Canned Tomatoes and Chickpeas.

No, I’m not an anti-canned food nut. Of course I prefer fresh foods, but this was a different matter. I had packed the one and only family can opener in my dear husband’s lunch today. You know, so he could break into that nutritious CANNED meal I packed for him.  See a pattern?

As I looked around the kitchen and searched for sharp objects, I paused and looked over at my sink. There they were! The glorious tin snips my dad gave me when I moved out for college. How lucky it is that we dug those snips out of my truck’s tool box just about a week ago!

Sweet Resourceful Success.

We will eat well tonight.

Why Does Parenting Have to be So Hard?

You dream of parenting. “I will never do so-and-so” you lie to yourself. You watch others parent and think “How could they?! I would calmly reason with my child and then we’ll skip merrily over to the ice cream shop (hand in hand) and talk of magic rainbows and live-mud-monsters giggling in still shot moments.”

After 20 minutes of crying during the nap time he needs in order to have the best day he can-ahem I mean “we can”, his silence tempts me to open the bedroom door to “make sure everything is okay”. I must still be that new to this. Don’t I remember the countless (literally countless) times I’ve opened that door just to push the “restart” button. Resist.

Magnetic Fridge Letters- Then there’s magnetic fridge letters! It’s not that I don’t appreciate the fact they must have an interesting curvature when experienced solely by the blind tongue. It’s that they happen to be the perfect size to CHOKE on. Sorry kid, no beans. Magnetic fridge letters are a “no-no” in the mouth. The end. Wait, you say it’s not in fact the end? “V” slips easily inside the gummy void as I exhale with gust. Gotta love the persistence. It’s that persistence that his dad won me over with right about 6 years ago. Isn’t it incredible the sympathy Parent’s Club hands out for free?

30 minutes into nap time the fit sounds more like music. Yes lulling, comforting music to my desperate ears. Lied again. The music is the part where it drowns out into quiet hushes of compliance. “Yes, Boomba. That’s right….. sleeeeeeeep……sleeeeee-eeeeeeep!” Ahhh.  HA! I think it really happened! I’ve heard only wind blowing and the radio- the real radio not Boomba’s “music”- for a full 3 minutes now! It’s got to be true.


*double glance at the clock*

Nearly noon? This wont do. I dare to whip out a paper to do the math. The nap must  equal X in order to have a Y or greater than day at work this afternoon. Arrrrrg!

That’s okay. I choose Phone a Friend. What would the idealistic parent-inside-myself say to me? Probably something to the tune  (bahahahaha “tune” sounds like I need an ipod moment see: ) of “Make sure you are extra happy and positive when he wakes up so that in turn, he will be positive and happy, thus fixing the fact he is nap-deprived. Wa-la! Sometimes you’ve just got to ask.

Anyway. Deep inside I know he slept a bit longer last night than usual and my day doesn’t in fact, depend on his napping – solely that is. I also know that my former childless self is right. A lot of it is between my own two ears. This – this is HUMP DAY and I will appreciate it for that reason alone.

Something my childless former self will never believe no matter how much she hears it is “parenting is hard”. Hard in ways that cannot be fully explained. This is what this blog is all about. The discovery of how hard parenting is. The effect of learning this is equally unable to be fully explained. Let me try. Parent Club gives you access to a secret. You know to what extent your parents loved you. How much they dreamed for you. Worked for you. Prayed for you.

Parent Club is forever.

Parent Club is not for the weak.

Parent Club gives you compassion, understanding, a deeper love you never knew possible. Parent Club also lets you taste the sweet, sweet drops of smiles, giggles and the magic of rainbows and live-mud-monsters in still shot moments.