A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Finally! Naptime Success!

Jonah is getting to the point where there are more days that naps DON'T happen, than days in which naps DO happen. This is a serious bummer for me. Sure, I do love time with the boys, but I also love my "me time", the time when their eyes close and breathing slows ... and all is quiet in the house.


But, the four year old is attempting to threaten that peace and quiet I treasure. We have worked to train him that whether or not he naps isn't really the question here: he still will spend a "quiet time" in his room. Time for him to unwind (and work on the skill of playing ALONE), and Mommy to "do her work". = ) So, in his room he is put. Sometimes without a fuss, sometimes with a big attempt to bargain with me - but this isn't something that is optional around here.

It seems that we were about half and half with naps and quiet times. But this week, this week, Monday-Thursday, there were NO NAPS. And he was starting to get cranky, whiny, and tired. But he has learned the trick (the deadly one we adults all employ) of pushing through that tired moment. So we can get to the next wind, so to speak. Now, I might sometimes use caffeine as a little assistant - I think he just exercises sheer willpower!

Back to his room, over and over he went: because the more tired he got as the week went on, the more times he attempted to cut it short - I am assuming because he knew he was tired, and he wanted the distraction of interacting with me to stay awake!

But, today, ahhhhhhh, today. I put him on my bed (less toys around), with his animals, some blankets, and one book. Ten minutes later ... I peeked and found this:

So sweet - so innocent looking!

And what will I do with my own personal quiet time? Hmmmm, I've been doing some studying, some laundry, some cooking ... but believe me when I say I am enjoying every second of it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Noosa Yoghurt

I'm not necessarily in the habit of giving product reviews: in fact, I've never done one on this blog before ... until today. Until I enjoyed - almost devoured - probably what I would call the most DELICIOUS YOGURT EVER. And you might think that I'm slightly exaggerating. Hmmmm, I can't believe that I am. It.was.that.good.

Eli gave me a Mango Noosa Yoghurt "in" my Easter basket (or, rather, in the fridge, but technically suppose to be part of said basket). Neither of us had ever seen it before. I think he stumbled upon while searching for other basket fillers at Hy-Vee.

Oh my.

I can't even describe it to you! So good. It was thick, but kinda fluffy, creamy, sweet, and just really darn good. I called him as soon as I finished it to compliment him on his choice. It isn't fat free (it has Cream listed as an ingredient), but still had 18g of protein for the 8 oz container, which is pretty good. And hey, I'll put up with a little fat for that good of a taste!

I looked up their website, but there's not really any type of information on it, other than I can gather they sell it at Whole Foods (Hy-Vee as well), and are working to get their product out. It's from Colorado. They have a few other flavors as well.

All I can say (to the four people I know that actually read this blog = )) is that you.should.try.it. PLEASE.

Monday, April 25, 2011

'Cause Sunglasses ... Protect Our Eyes From the Sun!

Anyone else out there a "Corinna Corinna" movie lover? My older sister and I used to watch the movie ... such a good message. And now, Eli and I still sing the sunglasses song when we put on sunglasses in the car or outside!

We did Easter baskets for boys - as usual! One thing that Jonah had been asking about recently was where on earth his sunglasses were. Well, I'm glad he remembers that he has a pair of sunglasses, but the has is extremely theoretical at this point. We haven't seen them since at least last fall. Eli and I agreed that sunglasses for both boys were in order! We got a good deal at Kohl's, and saved them for Easter baskets. Although it cloudy outside when the boys opened them up, they didn't care! Time to put them on, pull out the little water guns that were also tucked amid green plastic grass, and show Daddy what tough guys they think they are!

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Best Granola Ever" - as requested!

My friend Natalie just completed her tenth 1/2 Marathon on Sunday.
Amazing? YES. Double YES. She is inspiring ... maybe I can do one someday!
To congratulate, I made her some granola.
Yup. Cooking/Baking for others is totally a love language of mine.
I love to do it!
And she loves granola, healthy foods, and trying new things!

I was extremely happy with how this batch came out. Probably one of my favorites ... and when she took it home and her husband tasted it? I earned the honor (for however long or short lived) of it being the "best granola ever". Thank goodness Natalie still loves me - even if Colin loved the granola. Fear not, she requested the recipe to be posted so that she, too, can whip some up.

Crumbly, Crunchy, and YUMMY Granola!

2 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. shredded coconut
1/4 c. margarine or butter, or something of the sort
2/3 c. honey
2 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. coarse salt
2 - 3 c. nuts - any variety, any mixture - whatever you like!
1 - 1 1/2 c. dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast oats and coconut - stirring frequently - until golden brown and fragrant. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and heat to boiling. Boil 1 min. Remove from heat and set aside. Combine oat mixture, nuts, and dried fruit in a large bowl. Stir in wet mixture and combine well. Press mixture into a parchment paper or foil (sprayed w/ cooking spray) lined 9x13 pan. Bake close to 25 min or until golden brown on top. Let cool completely. Lift out, and crumble into preferred container - attempting to not eat all at once!

This granola has a really good salty taste that has the dried fruit giving sweetness for balance. I adapted it from a granola bar recipe. To work it into bars, decrease the dried ingredients some. I usually cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8x8 pan. And really, it's pretty darn healthly. For an entire 9x13 pan, we're talking only 4 T. of butter/margarine, no oil, and LOTS of grains and fruits. In the last two batches I have made ... I used a mixture of nuts: sunflower, pine, peanuts, and walnuts - and raisins for my dried fruit. The great thing is: granola can be adapted to suit any flavor taste or combination you want to put together.

Sorry, no pics of this one yet ... but next I make some, I'll add one!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Mommy!

Our bedtime routine is pretty much the same that it has always been. Try to wind down the madness going on ... change in jammies ... brush teeth and wash hands/face ... use the bathroom ... read some books in bed ... sings songs ... pray. And - throw in baths at the beginning of that every other night or so (seems like more baths are necessary now that we're outside a lot more - but I'm hoping once we start pulling out the hose during hot weather, the need for nightly baths will once again decrease slightly). Eli and I usually each take a boy - if we're both home -and tackle the routine.

But the past few nights, "Mommy" has been the one that both boys request for putting them down to bed. Don't get me wrong, I don't envision this as anything super amazing. A short phase. In fact, I consider it rather miraculous that at the end of the day - which they have spent with Mommy - they are still requesting more time with me: seeing as I am the one that has sent them to the majority of their time outs, given them the most lectures, retricted the most activities (No, I'm sorry. We don't go to the bathroom outside in our backyard. And my answer will always be NO!) Why don't they want the fun and rowdy Daddy? They will ... give it a few days or weeks and suddenly he'll be the "ONE".

But now they 've both caught on that the other one also wants Mommy. And they're fighting over it. Not that it's physically impossible for me to do both children - we just try and split it in order to get it done ON TIME so that we still HAVE TIME before we crash into bed. Two bedrooms, two kiddos = two parents doing duty. = ) But tonight, my two (mostly) naked children (yes, stirring the ash/water mixture in the fire pit outside did get rather messy) decided that they both wanted, no, I'm sorry, they both NEEDED Mommy to put them to bed. So, they attacked me.

Grabbed me: shouting "My Mommy" at each other. Eli snapped a couple pictures. I laughed. = ) Silly, but funny, and a memory all at the same time. Why? Because someday they won't even want me to get them ready, read them a book, sing them a song and then give them kisses upon kisses goodnight. They'll want their door shut instead of open ... they'll say "g'night" and head away to a room that off limits -wishfully - to me.

So, I'll remember this and smile back. And even though Reuben was eventually handed into Eli's arms for nighttime ... I'll try and enjoy every single night of bedtime routine I still get ...

Monday, April 11, 2011



Around here, strawberries have been going down in price as spring is coming! We have been buying lots each week – not only for the fruit-lovin’ mama, but for my strawberry monster a.k.a. JONAH. And when there’s a healthy fruit he loves – we try and keep it around whenever we can!

We have been eating most of our strawberries plain/jane style. Washed, cut, and by the bowlful. However, I suddenly remembered the Strawberry Muffin recipe that was given to me by my mother-in-law – passed to her by a friend. THIS one is one that Eli also craves! When strawberries are in full “season”, I buy lots. We make jam, but I also crush and freeze the amount needed in the recipe in little bags in the freezer to pull out later on in the year to enjoy that springtime feel when cooler temps reappear.

Try and enjoy!

Strawberry Muffins

Combine and set aside:

- 1 c. crushed/finely chopped strawberries - 1/4 c. white sugar

Mix together: - 1 ¾ c. flour (I use a combo of white and whole wheat – you can play with it!) - 1 tsp. baking soda - ¼ tsp. salt - ½ c. white sugar. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add: - 2 eggs - ½ c. oil OR unsweetened applesauce - your sweetened strawberries

Mix together until just combined. Spoon into a 12 cup muffin tin that you have either greased or lined with paper liners. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 25 minutes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Is Who I Am ...

Or, at least, one side of me!

On the side,
I teach aerobics at the all women's gym near my house.
I joined as a member when I was pregnant with Jonah,
and trained to become an instructor about a year and a half ago!
I have NEVER looked back!
I love fitness.

I love seeing what my body is capable of.
It is amazing how God created our bodies and muscles and what they can accomplish!
I enjoy being in good health,
having the energy to be rambunctious with my boys,
the muscle to help Eli do things around the house.

Today was a "launch" day at the gym.
One of the programs I teach is called BodyStep.
We trained through an international company
and provide a pre-choreographed step aerobics workout.
Each quarter,
the gym does a big hullabaloo with all the classes:
Making a fun atmosphere and the opportunity for non-members to try classes.
We showcase the new music and moves that we'll be incoporating through
all the classes.

We teach as a team on launch days - so Sherri and Alison and I rocked it out!
We had a great time - SUPER SWEATY by the end.
The ladies were great!

I hope to share more about my fitness love a bit on the blog every now and then!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Minivan Mom

It happened.
I can no longer drive down the street, thinking

Yup, I got two kids in the back,

But I'm driving my big truck,
Or my sweet little Toyota.
Still pretty cool lookin' ...
Those times have come and gone.
Doesn't matter what music I'm playing anymore!

We got a minivan.

I have wanted one.
Ahhhhh, space.
The ability to put in three car seats,
So that when I have Tirzah, I am actually legal
By being able to have all three kids in their car seats.

We have been looking for the right deal for a few months now.
Saved and saved our pennies for a few years now ...
And our 2005 Honda Odessey is here!
I'm super excited that it has POWER DOORS.
And delighted that is DOES NOT have a built in DVD player!
Woo hoo!

Three days later of driving,
I'm lovin' it ...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Grumbly Arms

Monday mornings are really the only slightly lazy morning at our house.
Technically, Mondays are Eli's day off from work.
So, he gets to sleep in a bit,
and I don't have to be at the gym to teach until 9 a.m.
There's no preschool, no Bible studies, no Tirzah, etc.
So we kind of laze around ...
sometimes make pancakes - you get the idea!

This morning,
Jonah and Eli were sitting together on the couch.
I came in from the kitchen and joined them.
Jonah was being silly,
trying to "trick" us by reaching his hands around and under us.
Not sure exactly what game he thought he was playing!

"Is this your back?"
"Is this your arm, Daddy?"
"Is this your back, Mommy"

He was trying to guess what he could tickle.

He got Eli's arm.
Eli asked him, "Do you think that's Mommy's arm you're touching?"

"No" came the assured reply.
Jonah touched my arm: "Mommy's arms are smooth.
Yours (Daddy's) are grumbly".