Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We have a white Christmas here, in the south!!  What a special day.  Mary Abilene loved to help open presents and she made out like a bandit!

I hope everyone takes time today to reflect on the birth of our Savior.  For we would have no presents, no cranberry sauce, no babies, and no snow if it were not for Him!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Banana Chip Cookies

Another recipe from 101 Cookbooks, these are absolutely scrumptious, and dare I say, (relatively) healthy cookies!  We just made them for the first time and I'm definitely keeping this recipe.

Banana Chip Cookies
Consider using coconut oil instead of butter in this recipe. Coconut oil makes AWESOME chocolate chip cookies. This is by far my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I substitute shredded coconut instead of banana chips or just leave them as plain chocolate chip cookies. The dough is to die for. Try to bake the cookies and not just eat all the dough like I'm tempted to do!

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (can use regular AP flour)
1/2 cup (toasted) wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup banana chips, loosely chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, racks in middle/upper middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat the butter until lightly and fluffy, then beat in the sugar until it is the consistency of a thick frosting. Beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each fully before adding the next, and scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times along the way (important!). Stir in the vanilla. Add the reserved flour mix in two increments, stirring/mixing a bit between each addition (but not too much). By hand, stir in the banana chips, chocolate chips and walnuts - mix just until everything is evenly distributed.

Drop 1 heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart and bake for about 7 - 8 minutes, until barely golden on top and bottom. Resist over baking, they will come out dry and not as tasty. Cool on racks.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Baby Carriers Review

I have four baby carriers/slings.  So here is a review of my personal favorite and a bit of information about each.

1) Seven Sling
I got this sling after Mary Abilene was born because I got a great promotion on one (free)!  I thought the patterns were adorable and my other sling (The Peanut Shell) was a bit big.  I was only able to use this sling while Mary Abilene was very small.  I ordered my size based on their sizing chart (actually a 1/2 size up because I was between sizes) and it was way too tight.  I could stuff my baby in it, but she didn't seem comfortable, and when she was only 2 months old, I could not stuff her with her cloth diaper in it anymore.  She also seemed to get stuck when I tried to pull her out.
Positives:  Cute patterns
Negatives:  Everything else
I do not recommend the Seven Sling

2) Peanut Shell
My friend Michelle gave me her Peanut Shell while I was pregnant.  I really enjoyed it while Mary Abilene was very small.  As she got older, she did not like to lay down in the "newborn cradle" position.  Another friend has one who has used hers since her little girl was born, and her baby is now 3, and she still uses it to hold her on her hip. I have not tried other positions besides the newborn cradle, like sitting her up in it like a little kangaroo because Mary Abilene enjoys the next two baby carriers quite a bit...
Positives:  Easy to put on and take off
                Cute fabrics and patterns
                Good for short trips like to the grocery store
Negatives:  Starts to hurt your back
                  Not very versatile

3)  Baby K'tan
My friend Amiee is letting me borrow this baby carrier.  The one I have is a tad big, so I think I would like it more if it were a size down.  I do like this sling.  It allows a newborn cradle or an upright position that can face in or out, which is Mary Abilene's preferred way to sit.
Positives:  Can be quickly put on
                Fairly comfortable
Negatives:  Sized, Patrick can't wear it
                  Two pieces, more to keep track of, and requires the carrier to reach around her back and take her hands off her baby to tie it, or requires a partner.

4) Moby Wrap 
My friend Laura gave this to me.  I was thinking "Oh, another baby carrier" but as soon as I found the position both Mary Abilene and I like, it quickly became my favorite baby carrier!  It is versatile, Mary Abilene loves it, it is comfortable, and anyone can wear it! It securely holds Mary Abilene in her favorite position (upright, facing in or out).  This wrap is gigantic straight out of the box, which I thought "This is absurd!"  But it shrinks feet after its first wash.
Positives:  Comfortable
                Patrick can wear it too
                Great for wearing around the house or on longer outings
Negatives:  Confusing straight out of the box
                  Have to make your baby wait to wrap it around yourself