Monthly Archives: January 2014

Scribbles

Lucy came home a couple weeks ago and told me her friend said she wasn’t coloring, she was just filling the page with scribbles. And I think a piece of my heart fell off. I know everybody’s worried about girls and STEM; Goldieblox is on my Amazon wishlist, too. But it’s just as important that she feel inspired with a blank canvas. I know from having an engineer for a father that beyond the skill of problem-solving, there is real and significant value in solution-creating.

So I feel this deep responsibility to not mess her up, to not squelch her spirit. She’s only four but she’s already so, so great. I mean she’s literally doing this right now, as I type.

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She’s declared herself “Lucy Rapunzel” and used a tiara to keep a scarf on her head. She built her tower in the chair. I want to get this right.

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So, for now, the only solution I see is to continue to provide opportunities for her. To hang her art on the fridge [and on the walls, closet doors, in the mail to Mimi…]. To always have supplies on hand, for whenever her inspiration strikes. And most of all, to let her know that just because someone else only sees scribbles, it doesn’t mean it’s not art. So I’ll leave you with her most recent work. She”s in a watercolor phase. :)

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Self-Portrait

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[When I asked her about this one she said it wasn’t hers because she didn’t remember adding the pink. :) Actually now that I’m looking at it, this is definitely Landon. Oops.]

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luart4

Rain

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Waterland

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Untitled

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Snow

*I’ve actually written about Lulu the artist before; you can see more work here and her art journal here [warning: link contains lots and lots of scribbles].

p.s. If you’re my mom and really just came to see pics of the baby… here you go, ma! :)

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Decorating With Instagram

Anybody else have hundreds of recent pictures on their mobile devices while the frames in their houses are filled with pictures of their four-year-old as an infant? Anybody?

Our kids are constantly asking to look at various slideshows on the computer. Lucy especially loves to look through the pictures of her and her brothers as babies. So we wanted to get some of our favorites off the screen and onto our walls.

My first, and most obvious, choice was to look at the various instagram printing services. In fact, nearly all of the major printers [walgreens, shutterfly] have an app that will let you print directly from your account to a store or your mailbox. The problem, I found, was that these services proved to be cost-prohibitive. Most of the prints were .35 to .40 each so when I printed the 100 I wanted [I narrowed it down to my favorite 20%!] it would have been close to $40. That seemed crazy to me.

Through the process of wanting to print from my instagram account, it occured to me that I wasn’t sure if all of my instagram pics were backed up like the pictures that I download from my camera’s memory card are.

decorating with instagram | hey, beth baker!

My tech-savvy husband alerted me to the google plus app which, super conveniently, will back up my photos to my google plus account. I feel like everyone should know this. Does everybody know this?

decorating with instagram | hey, beth baker!

So there’s your first level of back-up protection, but if you’re like me you want a folder of just instagram shots. I am okay with them grouped together by date, but if you want to print pictures you’ll need those square shots separate.

There are a few different programs that will let you download the files from your instagram account. I found instaport to be the easiest [the instructions for downloading are in the tutorial link below].

After I got all of my pics to an aptly named folder on my desktop, I began the process of trying to figure out how to get them printed. I came across this tutorial on Little Blue Boo. It definitely took longer than sending the prints straight from an app but with a coupon I got the prints for about .08 each. And, as a stay-at-home mom, I unfortunately have more time than money at this point in my life. Speaking of money, if you don’t own photoshop I used pixlr to change the canvas size; it’s a free web-based program my husband showed me (Look at that Chuck, two virtual high-fives in one post)].

decorating with instagram | hey, beth baker!

Because of my coupon, I printed them through Shutterfly. I thought they printed them all a little “cold” [i.e. the shadows had a tinge of blue instead of all black] so next time I’ll stick with Walgreen’s or Snapfish. It also seemed like some of the pictures “floated” around on the paper so the boarders and frames for some of the pictures weren’t even all around. But, I feel like the biggest hurdle to this project is taking the initiative to get the pictures printed, so I didn’t feel too picky. After I cut off the extra inch on either side, I laid the pictures I wanted to use on the floor to see how many I wanted to use. It also allowed me to spread it out so I didn’t have a bunch of the same filters grouped together. To get the pics on the wall, I was inspired by this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess.

decorating with instagram | hey, beth baker!

To make sure things start off level, we threw up a piece of tape. Always good to start off level. I also cut a piece to use as a guide for how far apart I wanted the pictures.

decorating with instagram | hey, beth baker!

Now I need you to excuse these lower quality pictures. I have a five week old. And camera batteries are never charged when you need them to be.

decorating with instagram | hey, beth baker!

decorating with instagram | hey, beth baker!

And just for fun I threw up a few food-related pics on the doorway out of the kitchen.

decorating with instagram | hey, beth baker!

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Roasted Carrot Soup [ & This Week’s Meal Plan]

It’s been a month since we welcomed Cohen into our family. I know it’s my third baby, so I should know the drill, but I’m a bit impatient and ready to “feel like myself” again. In an effort to get back to our routine, I made a meal plan for this week. The hardest part was sticking to it and not waiting until 5 o’clock to start something. I was not successful on having the meals on the planned days, so I just crossed them off as I made them [which has a definite added layer of satisfaction!].

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As written, here’s how our meals went.

Sunday: My favorite fish tacos. I didn’t want to grill so I put the fish foil pouches[it was pretty thin] in the oven at 400F for 7 minutes.

Monday: Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili. The recipe we tried was only “okay” so I won’t share it. I would love it if anyone has a chili recipe to share in the comments.

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches & Sweet Potato Fries. If you’ve never tried Stubb’s BBQ sauce, well, you’re welcome.

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie. Yum. I use my mom’s recipe but this time we did a drop biscuit crust because biscuits have a lower fat content than dough and I was looking for something a little lighter. It had been long enough since I’d baked something from scratch that after eating I marveled at how ingredients can come together to make something so delicious. Oh dear.

Thursday: Roasted Carrot Soup & Cauliflower poppers

Friday: Quinoa & Roasted Veggies. We roasted the rest of the butternut squash that didn’t go in our soup, some sweet potatoes, and some edamame. It went on top of the quinoa and we sprinkled on a little cheese as a topping.

Saturday: Pizza! I’ll be honest: it was frozen and it was delicious.

For the Roasted Carrot Soup, I used this recipe for my inspiration. To make it healthier [and dairy-free] we switched it up a bit.

roasted carrot soup | hey, beth baker!

Roasted Carrot Soup
Serves 6+

3 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped to florets
[sprinkled with nooch, paprika, garlic powder, salt! and pepper]
1 red pepper, roughly diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil, separated and melted
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.
Use one tablespoon of melted coconut oil to coat the veggies and sprinkle with desired seasonings. Bake for 25 minutes or until fork tender.

Heat up the remaining coconut oil in a dutch oven and add the onions. Saute over medium high heat until onions are nearly translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add the chicken broth and seasonings. As it begins to boil, turn the heat to low. When the carrots, cauliflower, and red pepper are finished, add them in. Add in the coconut milk. Use an immersion blender to make it as smooth as you’d like.

roasted carrot soup | hey, beth baker!

Lucy Lately

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“I’m gonna watch this Barney so I can help Buddy learn his imagination.”

“Landon, you can’t push me into the potty. If you push me into the potty everyone will miss me.”

[To the tune of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’] “Myyyyyyyyyy golden rings!”

——
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…

Hm. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

We should pray for him, Jesus.”
——

“Jesus, I love this dinner. Amen. I love myself. Amen. Help Cohen. Amen.”

L: “Do you like my dance?”
B: “Yes.”
L: “Thanks. I learned it at high school.”

L: “Mama, when I’m a mommy I’m going to get email.”
B: “Cool. Hehe. That’s funny.”
L: “But right now I just don’t like the way it tastes.”
B: “Huh? I don’t understand. Oh, did you mean oatmeal?”
L: “Yeah, that’s what I said.”

L: “Mom. Do you wish I was a polar bear in the snow?”
B: “Yes. Because then you could play outside and you wouldn’t get cold.”
L: “Would you like to play my polar bear game later?”
B: “Um, sure. How do you play?”
L: “Alright. We’ll. Step 1: Be a polar bear. And then there are some other steps.”

L: “Mom. Can you tell the twins’ mom to buy them bananas?”
B: “I could. Did they tell you they need bananas?”
L: “We’ll, no. But I just think they would like them and I think it’s important for mamas to buy food.”

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Keeping Myself Not Crazy

If you’re a mom you’ve probably been in the place where we’re at right now. We have a vivacious four-year-old, a sweet two-year-old with sensory challenges [and two hours of therapy a week], and a newborn baby. In the past three weeks we’ve said goodbye to Mimi and Poppa [sniffle], survived days home while Daddy went back to work, rejoiced to have Daddy home for winter break, overcome two bouts of a pink eye + cold virus [for the kiddos], felt smashed by a chills + body aches virus [for the mama], taken care of lots of other people’s needs [for the daddy], and mostly recently battled thrush [also for the mama, sigh]. We’ve had a bit of a rough one. Mercifully we’ve been cared for by our church family [with lots of dinners delivered to our door] and we’re singing the praises of modern medicine [hallelujah] and praying to a God that heals that we’re on the mend. Ugh. Woo!

But through all of that there’s much to rejoice in. And, for me, that’s the perspective that keeps me emotionally sane.

Sometimes it’s embarrassingly simple stuff, like the peanut butter that I buy in bulk on Amazon.

peanut butter

Seriously. Sometimes the thought of having it with my oatmeal gets me out of bed in the morning. I spent the first 29 years of my life on team smooth pb but I’ve been converted.

Sometimes it’s returning a couple toys the kids really didn’t need to buy some organizational stuff they desperately required.

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What’s funny about this shelf is that Chuck and I had the luxury [yes, luxury] of sneaking out for a few hours just after Christmas to buy this for Lucy’s room. And we bought these adorable pink chevron bins for the shelfs. We paid a little more for them because we had a gift card and knew she’d love them. And the bins broke in two days. So needless to say, they went back to the store and these way less cute and way more durable bins came back in their place.

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The little bins came from the dollar store. We made sure when we replaced the cute bins to get bins that were easy opened [that’s how our little princess hulked the first two]. To make the labels, we just bought some plain white rectangles and added some washi tape. [Am I the only one who has sort of okay ideas on my own and really great ideas when I collaborate with my husband? Not only that, his involvement usually ensures that the end result is greater than the vision I have in my head. It’s crazy!]

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For whatever reason [maybe she’s just a fickle kid… hehe] Lucy’s room requires a lot of consideration for how it’s being used. As her interests change, we try to make sure the things taking up space in her room are things she’s playing with the most. What I didn’t realize was that adding this layer of organization to her room would make her more willing to play in there by herself. I suppose there’s something to be said for ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’.

And maybe the moral of that story is: when you’re feeling crazy, organize something.

And I keep reminding myself to relax a little. I just had a baby. I shouldn’t be running at 100%. I should let my husband pick up some slack [And he has! Air five CCB.]. And I should definitely spend lots of time gazing at this sweet face.

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[Oh my goodness he’s already changed so much in three short weeks!]

And if that doesn’t do it I’ll just loop this video:

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Looking Back and Looking Forward

2014

2013 was a whopper, am I right? It was beautiful and wonderful and full of blessings. It was scary and challenging and very, very hard. So here’s to looking back at last year and what shaped us and looking forward to what the next year will bring.

January

Lucy started dance classes. And she loved them. And she is amazing. And she’s ready to start them up again!

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February

February was fun because it finally felt like gluten-free, vegan treats I made for the kids were edible. It took a while to get to that place. There were a lot of baking disasters where I questioned if I should toss the pan instead of spending the time to clean it. And Lucy loved making heart cookies for Valentine’s day [and is already asking about making them again]. Here’s the recipe we’re currently using.

decorating sugar cookies

March

We started out with a very snowy Spring Break!

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And then everything changed when Landon was admitted to the hospital for seizures. Perspectives changed. Hearts changed. We were definitely changed.

Concern I May Have, But Worry I Will Not

Concern I May Have, But Worry I Will Not

Concern I May Have, But Worry I Will Not

We celebrated Easter [just after finding out there was a baby in my belly!]

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And then in April we told my mom there was a baby in my belly!

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And my handy husband gave me the gift of a kitchen makeover.

eat-in kitchen [before & after] | hey, beth baker!

And we prayed over this boy, a lot.

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In May we celebrated seven years of marriage.

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And told everybody else about that baby in my belly!

hey, beth baker!

June brought family time and lots of time outside.

hiking with kids

Lucy was a bunny rabbit in her first dance recital.

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If you ask her she’ll tell you: she’s kind of a big deal.

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This guy turned two in July.

landon's birthday

In August we started some low-key homeschool preschool.

homeschool preschool

homeschool preschool | hey, beth baker!

And then I got a little behind on blogging. But writing this post was one of my favorites.

[this is] real life | hey, beth baker!

September brought football season and apple picking!

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October and a super fun Halloween.

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And in November the blog had its busiest day with this post.

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December was very busy. And very fun. Celebrating Lucy turning four.

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And welcoming Cohen to our family.

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Looking back on the ‘ole bloggy bloggerson this year has been quite fun, too [Here’s 2012].

This little site was visited over 22,000 times with people visiting Green Beans & Red Potatoes and Mountain Bread the most. Visitors came from 109 countries [what!?] mostly by way of facebook and pinterest.

I posted 85 new posts with 487 pictures; proving I’m quite a visual person. And my number one supporter, biggest fan, and most frequent commenter was my sweet husband [thanks, babe!].

So fun.

My goal [resolution?] for 2014 is to start posting our weekly meal plan more regularly [mostly to keep myself accountable] and to continue writing so my now-a-mother-of-three mind doesn’t turn to total mush.