Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Allergies and Other News

Wow! This past week has been quite a whirlwind. Last Tuesday I took Benjamin to the doctor to see about whether he may have food allergies that may be causing his eczema. She took him off wheat and dairy and we are testing to see if that clears it up. So far, it's working. His legs are not clear, but they are no longer fiery red and he's not scratching them anymore. They seem to be healing and not developing any more breakouts. Praise the Lord. It's been quite interesting trying to come up with things he can eat. He LOVES bread and usually asks for toast first thing in the morning. Then at lunch, he asks for a sandwich. He also has asked several times for pizza and we have to tell him no. And then their is yogurt, which he calls gogurt, which he asks for constantly. Poor thing. He doesn't understand. Unfortunately, we have been way too busy this past week for me to experiment with any baking, and next week I leave for Indiana to visit my sister Rachel, but when I get back, I plan to learn to make a wheat free pizza crust and find some other recipes as well that he will eat. I have purchased a few gluten free mixes and some gluten free bread, but wow they are expensive! But even though it's going to be work to come up with things, I'm so thankful that it seems to be helping.

So, besides allergies, we were blessed this past week to have Matt's family here for a few days and we had a great time! We did some shopping, went to the zoo, took several walks, played some card games, and had a blast playing with Benjamin. He woke up in the mornings asking for Memaw and he and grandpa had a little game where grandpa would say "E I E I O" and Benjamin would echo with "Yi Yi Yo" Too cute! I'm so thankful for my in-laws and it's so fun to watch them be grandma and grandpa to Benjamin! Wearing grandpa's hat

Going to the zoo with grandpa and grandma

Looking at the animals with grandpa
After my last trip to the zoo, I decided that a backpack harness was the way to go. Benjamin wants to be down so he can see all the animals, but he runs so fast that I'm afraid to let him down for long for fear him darting away when one of us isn't looking. So, in this picture, it looks like he is walking grandma. :)
Trying to get into the food to feed the fish

Family Picture

Double Date with Matt's parents
Matt's Mom's birthday as well as his parents 35th anniversary fell over the time they were here, so his dad took us to the Melting Pot (yum!) for dinner. It's always such a fun dining experience!
Throwing the ball down the stairs with grandpa
Out shopping (at Costco of course)
Getting ready for a walk
The walk in action
Getting silly with the stroller
Our driveway has a crazy incline, so we love to hold the stroller at the top and then let it go and catch it at the bottom. Benjamin loves this and wants to do it over and over.
Playing Basketball with grandpa and grandma

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

We have been talking for months about getting an ice cream maker so we could control what goes into our ice cream. Since ice cream is by far my favorite dessert, it seems to be what we decide to have for dessert night almost every week. So a few weeks ago, we finally decided to get one. It was so exciting to try our first recipe of chocolate peanut butter and we waited with anticipation as the ice cream froze, only to be disappointed by both the taste and texture of our first creation. It was so bad that it was inedible, so we decided to try again the next weekend. This time, with just a basic vanilla. It was better, but still not that great. I began to think that maybe homemade ice cream was not all it was cracked up to be. But, I was determined to find a recipe that not only tasted good, but had a good ice cream texture when it was frozen. Since butter pecan is one of my favorite flavors I did a little hunting around on the Internet and found this recipe for Ben and Jerry's butter pecan ice cream. We decided to give it a try and it was amazing! Creamy and sweet with just a hint of salty and oh so buttery. Yum! So, here is the recipe with just a couple of slight adjustments from the original:

1/2 c butter
1 heaping cup pecans
1/2 t. sea salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c sucanat
2 cups heavy cream
1 c milk

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add pecans and salt and saute, stirring constantly until they begin to turn brown. Remove pecans with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool. Pour butter into a separate bowl and allow to cool as well.
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar a little at a time until fully incorporated. Add butter and mix very well. Add milk and cream and beat just until fully mixed together. (please note that there really are only two eggs in the picture. We just got lucky with a double yoke.)
Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer instructions. About 2 minutes before the ice cream is done, pour in those delicious pecans. When they are well mixed in, remove ice cream to container and freeze.
When the ice cream is firm, serve it up and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Benjamin Funnies

So a few weeks back, Benjamin started being able to say "doggy." Except, when he said it, it came out more like "daddy." For the most part, we were able to tell by context what he was saying, but one time Matt was in the kitchen with him and Benjamin said "daddy," (doggy). Matt told him he was right there and asked what he needed. Benjamin just kept saying daddy and getting frustrated. Finally he sighed loudly and said "uff uff." Since he was in our kitchen and we don't have a dog, we weren't sure what dog he was talking about, but it was funny none the less.

Then today I was reading Benjamin one of my favorite books "The Rabbit is Next." We were going through and naming all the different animals in the waiting room of the Vet and when we got to the monkey, Benjamin pointed to it and said excitedly "mommy!" So, Matt is a dog and I am a monkey.

Other new for the week: we finally got a video camera! Woohoo! We've been saving for it for a while and finally had enough. We did some research online and figured out which one we probably wanted, but we wanted to go into the store to actually look at it. Amazon had it the cheapest, so our plan was to order it there, but when we got to the store they had all their video cameras marked way down because the new models were about to come it. We ended up getting our camera for $110 less than the original price. Yay! So, now, as if I need one more thing to keep up with, I will be attempting to learn how to use it and hopefully soon have some fun videos of Benjamin's antics and words to share with you all!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wonderful Coconut Oil

So for the past few months I have been reading a lot about coconut oil. I became interested in it when I heard about all the health benefits it had and did a LOT of research on which oil was best and where to get the best price. So a little over a month ago, I finally broke down and shelled out the money for a gallon of unrefined virgin coconut oil from Mountain Rose Herbs to split with some of our good friends. We've been enjoying using it for cooking and I even like to add a little to my smoothies when I have them. But, my biggest excitement over coconut oil comes from an external use. Benjamin has suffered from eczema for several months now and it had really started to get bad. At first I thought he just had a rash, but gradually he had more and more dry patches up and down his legs and all over his face. I spoke with some friends who recommended several different things, but I really wanted something natural that would not only help with the eczema, but be healthy for his skin. So I tried rubbing coconut oil on his face every night before bed. I'm not great with adding new things into a routine, so it's taken a few weeks to make it consistent, but we now rub it on his face and legs both in the morning and the evening and the improvement is incredible. His face is baby soft again with no redness or dry patches. His legs were much worse than his face, so they are taking a little longer to heal, but they have improved greatly. Plus, Benjamin loves to "help" when we rub anything on his face or body and I don't have to worry about him ingesting yucky chemicals from lotions or steroid creams when we use coconut oil. He now calls the container of oil in his room "face." Yay for coconut oil!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Morning at the Zoo

Last week a friend of mine from church called me and asked if I wanted to go to the zoo. We've lived here over 5 years now and had never been, so I was excited to go. Plus, Benjamin is getting big enough now that he was ready to enjoy it. I think we will be considering a family membership for the future as it's a great deal considering we can go pretty much year round. And I must say, it was a great zoo for kids. Benjamin roared at the bears and got all excited about the birds. He was especially excited about the fish and the fact that all the windows were low enough that he could be right at eye level with them. He kept running from window to window yelling "fish, fish, fish!" He's so funny because I never know when he will be cautious or full speed ahead. With the zoo, he was cautious. Usually about the time we were moving on to the next animal was about the time he was beginning to enjoy looking at them instead of being scared (with the exception of the fish). He was particularly cautious when it came time to go in and see the goats. There was a penned in area where the children could feed the goats (for a fee), or just brush them at no cost. I was actually impressed that Benjamin even went into the penned-in area without prompting. But once he was in, he was pretty scared of the goats. He would see one move and run away, only to realize another one was close by. But after a few minutes, he started to see other kids petting the goats and brushing them, so he grabbed a brush. He would walk up to about 5 feet away from the goat and hold the brush out as far as he could and then back away if the goat actually moved. Then he ventured closer and would hold the brush out just until it touched the goat, then quickly pull it away. I think eventually he would have gotten even braver, but we had to move on. Maybe next time.
Even the lion sculpture was a bit scary for Benjamin at first, but he finally got brave enough to touch this one.
Loving the Fish!

Getting brave with a goat!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009