September 19, 2011

An Autumn Monday Miscellany

His teacher met us in the hallway and led him away toward the coat rack. His little Cars backpack bobbed on his back as he left. His first day of school, today. He was so excited!

Part of me kinda wanted to cry. Part of me kinda wanted to dance for joy.

Summer's officially over now. This afternoon, while Caleb played with the hose in the front yard, I vaccuumed sand out of the trunk of my car. Momentos of the great summer we've had. First I unpacked the camping chairs and the Sports-brella. Then the beach toys and Caleb's floaty tiger. Water shoes. Random pieces of clothing. Empty water bottles. Books. When I finished, only piles of sand were left, gathered from a dozen different trips to the lake, and countless mornings spent at the beach.

The weather already seems to know that fall is here. The thermometer read 44 degrees a few days ago. The chilly air makes me crave oatmeal in the mornings. Hot coffee, too.

Mmmmm, I love this time of year. :)

And now, for a few Monday Miscellanys:

Miscellany #1:
I've been on a home decorating kick lately. Decided my bedroom needed a makeover. And I LOVE how it's turning out. :) New curtains, new decorative elements, little craft projects to spruce things up. Hello, color! I love you! Pictures coming soon . . .

Miscellany #2:
We have officially started listening to Christmas music. We're rocking Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Lost Christmas Eve in the car these days. Caleb's favorite track is #4. He asks for it, by number, over and over. And over. And over.

Miscellany #3:
A mason jar full of candy corn makes all the difference when you're potty-training. 'Nuff said. ;)

Happy Monday, y'all!

September 8, 2011

I'm Rocking My Baby

So I had planned to blog yesterday . . .

. . . about our trip to Seattle on Tuesday. About how we left the Autism Center with no satisfying answers. About the sweet time we spent as a family, being together and being happy, on a late summer's day in the big city.

But . . .

. . . the phone rang off the hook yesterday. A teacher who told me what I didn't want to hear. A friend who called to talk about tea and food and sewing projects. Alone time, with the Lord, on a trail overlooking mountains and forests and sea. Precious time spent in a coffee house with a dear friend, laughing and praying and learning and resting.

Today, I had planned to blog . . .

. . . about the ministry I recently joined at church. About the excitement and anticipation I feel to be a part of it. About lives and stories and our God who authors them all. Deep thoughts, sweet thoughts. Knowing He is always there.

But . . .

. . . we spent the morning at church for a ministry meeting. Caleb got stung by a yellow jacket in the backyard, and needed comforting and LOTS of kisses. I was inspiried to try something new for dinner, which made the meal take twice as long to prepare. Then, as I reached for the laptop later, thinking surely I had a moment now to write, my little boy snuggled up on my shoulder and promptly fell asleep. What's a mommy to do? Snuggled him back, of course, and held him close until we were ready to carry him upstairs to bed.

"I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

So that is why I have not blogged yet. Savoring precious moments that I want to remember. Trusting God with the moments when I struggle. Drinking deeply the family times, the summer sunshine, the tender moments with my son. I don't want to miss a thing.

So please forgive a lack of proper posting this week. I've been, um, otherwise occupied. :)

September 5, 2011

Letters and Snakes

Seems I find all sorts of fun things on Amazon.

Caleb calls it "building words" which comes from Word World, one of his favorite shows. We spent about an hour with these the other day, spelling out words and learning to recognize the lower case letters. The letters are removeable, and the wooden plaques have a word on each side. The outline is already given, you just have to find which letter goes where. Like a puzzle. Anyway, we had a blast! Caleb already knows his alphabet, and I honestly think he could read right now, given a little guidance.

When we tired of letters, we did some drawing. Well, I mostly did the drawing. See how I incorporated the letters and words we were just learning? Sneaky, sneaky. ;) Caleb likes to dictate what I draw, although I did make him scribble his own happy faces and squiggly lines for a while.

I heart Melissa & Doug. LOVE their stuff. The end.
I also heart this little boy. :) A lot.

Even when he does really boyish things that freak Mommy out. Like this:

Yes, that is a snake.
See how happy he is with his snake? Not sure the snake is quite as excited...

Caleb asked if he could keep it in his bedroom.

Nosiree,noway, thankyouverymuch! Nosnakesinthehouse!

That's more or less what I said. ;)

But I couldn't deny the unutterably cute, 100% All Boy-ness of the situation, which is why I went for the camera. :)

Happy Monday all! I hope you're having a great Labor Day Weekend!

And could y'all pray for us tomorrow? We're headed back to Seattle for another visit to the Autism Center. We've been waiting months (try six) for this, and now we have three scheduled appointments in the next six weeks. Oy! But if you could pray for wisdom and answers, we'd surely appreciate it! Thank you!

September 4, 2011

Golden Sugary Goodness

I would like to introduce you all to the new love of my life:

Friends, meet Palm Sugar: the newest addition to my kitchen! :)

It's tan and sandy, it's brown and beautiful, it's Palm Sugar!

Ok, I'm done now. :)

Why is it my new best friend? Why, I'm so glad you asked!

Palm sugar is completely natural, harvested from palm tree blossoms. And (wait for it), it's safe for diabetics to have.

Yes, you read that right. A sugar that's actually safe. I've been researching sugar alternatives for the last couple of years, and synthetic substitutes aside, this is the best I've found to date.

Here's why: palm sugar breaks down slowly in the body, taking more time and less insulin to digest. It doesn't send your blood sugar levels sky-rocketing; it doesn't spike them at all, actually. You can put it in drinks, you can bake with it, you can pretty much use it the same way you would use regular white sugar. But with fewer calories (15 cal. per tsp.) and no sugar spike (palm sugar has a Glycemic Index of 32, while white sugar has one of 90).

Now, if you're relatively new to The Inkwell, you're probably scratching your head and thinking, "Gee, I didn't know she was diabetic!" Well technically, I'm not.

Short summary: I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Caleb (Long story there. Short version? It was no fun.) Ever since, I've been border-line diabetic, and struggled with sugary foods and most especially sugary drinks. I had to give up Jamba Juice, find sugar-free alternatives at Starbucks, and buy stock in Crystal Lite. Splenda lives in my cupboards full-time, always at the ready for coffee and tea.

Now, if you are nowhere near "new" to The Inkwell, you also know how much I love to bake. And what a soft spot I have for cookies, pastries, brownies, and ice cream. Sweet tooth? More like sweet teeth. Plural. Which doesn't work out well for a border-line diabetic.

Hence, the search for a sugar substitute. That's why I'm so excited about Palm Sugar. (And why I keep capitalizing it. ;) I found this particular brand on Amazon, and in addition to being a natural sugar, this brand is also organic. Another plus.

The big question I had when I ordered it, though? What did it taste like?

Well, guess what? It tastes like brown sugar. No joke. Maybe with a bit more molassess in the flavor. Or carmel. Yummmmmm.

And that's the real reason why I heart Palm Sugar. It's safe, it's natural, and it actually tastes good. The trifecta! And to prove it, I put it to the test in a batch of Amish Friendship Bread last weekend. Made the house smell like french toast while it was baking. Mmmmm. And the bread tasted great! Moist, fluffy, with a slightly richer flavor than usual. Win! Win! Win!

Ahem. I'll put my pom-poms down now.

My next adventure with Palm Sugar? I want to try some chocolate chip cookies. If Palm Sugar can handle those, I think it can handle anything. :)