09 September 2012

Banana Pumpkin Bread with a Twist

So I noticed we had a few well ripened bananas sitting on top of our fridge the other day. I never throw out old bananas because they are absolutely perfect for things like banana nut muffins, banana bread, banana pancakes, and now, banana pumpkin bread. I had originally found this idea on Pinterest (where all good ideas are born and stolen) but I thought it need something... Extra. And what better to add than chocolate chips? It's a PMS dream come true! Here's the original recipe. I tweaked it a tad to make it more delicious and a bit more mine. And, well, a bit more chocolately. Because life just isn't complete without chocolate.

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread
What you'll need:
2 very ripe bananas
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 stick butter, softened 
        (I used unsalted, but just about any type works.)
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
        (Make sure to pack your brown sugar in. Don't just pour it in to one and a half cups. Pack it.)
3 eggs
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 1/2 cups flour
        (I used wheat flour.)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of sugar 
         (to even out the texture/flavor of the wheat flour and to even out the tartness of the chocolate chips.                                    Also because sugar is good for your soul.)
1/2 bag of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
          (or dark chocolate. Or milk chocolate. Whatever your preference.)

--Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a large bread pan (or two medium-sized bread pans) with nonstick baking spray. [I used one medium sized bread pan...]
--In a stand mixer, beat together the bananas, pumpkin puree, butter [IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOUR BUTTER IS SOFTENED!], brown sugar, and eggs until very smooth. Toss in the spice, flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until smooth again. 
--Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes [because I overfilled the breadpan, mine took like an hour and a half. If the knife or toothpick does not come out clean, just pop it back in for another 15 minutes.].

Instead of the glaze that the original recipe called for, I whipped out my can of Betty Crocker's Autumn Vanilla frosting, complete with brown and orange sprinkles in lots of fun shapes. The finished product tastes amazingly delicious and is the perfect compliment to a nice, warm cup of pumpkin spice coffee. 


06 June 2012

A Love Story...

Who knew that love felt this way? That one would be so consumed with emotion is startling to me! My heart is overjoyed and I feel like singing!

I have to proclaim it to the world! I am in love... With my new vacuum cleaner!!!

I know right? Odd, to say the least. Our vacuum died a few weeks ago. It started making a very odd sound, squealing and the like. And then I smelled burning rubber. More than likely it's the belt, but the belt looks fine to me. John was supposed to look at it before he left, but he didn't, so he told me to buy a new one.

I feel like such a housewife. Seriously. I was in HEAVEN looking at all the different vacuum cleaners in the PX. There were oh so many different types to choose from! Some have retractable cords, others many different extensions... So many to choose from! Of course, I had a budget, so I didn't even waste time looking at the Dyson vacuums (although I would love to get one). I knew my main purpose would be to vacuum up the intense amount of hair that my poor dog has been shedding (my carpet went from tan to white...), so something that was higher powered would be what I wanted. What did I find? A beautiful high powered vacuum that is specifically geared towards pets. It has rubber attachments that would do a whole lot more to get the fur off of our furniture (and even off of the dog himself!). It was love at first sight. :)

I took it to a friends house and tried it out. To say it worked great would be an understatement. They had just moved in, and the vacuum picked up so much dust from their carpet! I knew it was going to be perfect for me! I took it home and finished putting the screws in and turned it on. My floor... It's so clean!! And beautiful!

I am in love with a vacuum, and I don't care who knows it. 

04 June 2012

Real Mom Moments

The Good: Balian has  now twice dragged me to the potty so he could sit on it. The first time he peed in it, the second time he wanted to play, but at least he's getting there.

The Bad: Balian has figured out how to work the deadbolt. I don't know what we're going to do if our next place doesn't let us install a chain on the door.

The Ugly: One of the downfalls of having a dog before having a kid: your kid starts acting like the dog. Balian has decided it's fun to lap up water out of the tub like Scotty does and to fetch the toys we throw back and forth by getting down on his hands and knees and picking them up with his mouth... I'm just going to go with, "he gets it from his dad".

31 May 2012

A Mile In My Shoes

Tonight, as I was driving back from picking up dinner, I watched a C-130 circle around our apartment, wheels out, as it readied for its landing on McChord field. I wondered to myself if that was the same C-130 that would be taking my husband off on another of his grand adventures.

One of the questions I am asked most often is, "How do you do it?" Do what? How do I stand slipping into a cold bed at night, knowing that there's not going to be anyone there to warm it up? Or how do I stand listening to my two year old son walking around the house calling for his daddy? Or is it how do I manage to get up in the morning, listening to the news for any sign of trouble, while pretending that everything is okay? There's really only one answer: it's because you don't have a choice.

That's what most non-Military families fail to understand. We don't do this because we're special, because we think we're somehow better than others, because for some reason, we're stronger (mentally and emotionally) than the average person. It's because for us, there's no other option. Sure, I could choose to stay in bed all day, sleeping away the length of time he's gone, sinking into a depression that can only be reversed with his coming home. I won't lie, some days, that's exactly what I want to do, until I hear my two year old start waking up in his room, giggling and talking, and I know it's time to start a new day. My one night of self-pity is over. It's time to carry on.

My husband is at war. He's not sitting in some nice, cushy jet flying to a week long business meeting, or travelling to some exotic location for a company getaway. He's in a war zone, carrying a gun. There is every chance that he could be shot or worse. Those are the harsh realities we face everyday. What I wouldn't give to have him lying on a beach somewhere instead of in 60 pounds of gear that's meant to save his life.

When a civilian looks my husband in the eye and says, "Thank you for your service", they fail to see the tears shed the night he leaves. They don't see the missed birthdays and anniversaries. They don't see the last goodbye's, the midnight Skype calls, the worry or the dread, the absolute heart ache.

Most of you will never understand what this life is like, and I pray everyday that you never have to. 

30 May 2012

I Clicked It Up A Notch: May Contest

I really love these monthly contests. It's a great opportunity to see how much I've grown in my own skills. There were so many pictures that I took this past month that I would love to share, however, this one was the winner (for me). We had to celebrate my son's second birthday two weeks early since my husband will not be here to celebrate it with us on the day of.

Check out all of the other entries!

Click It Up A Notch

19 May 2012

Real Mom Moments

The Good: I've been reminded almost daily about how amazing it is to be a stay at home mom again. Yes, there are moments where I just need to get away, but being there when Balian wakes up in the morning, being able to put him to bed at night, kissing all of his owies and comforting his fears, that's what makes it  all worth it.

The Bad: The past few days I've been slipping slowly into an insanity coma. Balian has been (almost literally) attached to my hip. Any time he's been set down, I've walked out of the room, anything, he's screamed and come running, little hands beckoning me to come back. I can't even pee without him crawling into my lap.

The Ugly: Balian woke up screaming last night around 3 am, drenched to the bone. He's going to be a bedwetter until he's at least five. If not six. Or later. I changed his diaper and his clothes (during which he screamed... He apparently has an affinity for feetie pajama's), moved his blanket over the wet spot in the bed, and shifted him onto a dry spot. Don't judge. 

04 April 2012

Tuesday's Random Thought

I love being a stay at home mom. Yes, I do love being lazy, but there's so much more to it than that. I love spending time with Balian, watching him grow and helping him learn. I like keeping my house upkept (although lately I've failed at that). I love having the opportunities to share craft times with Balian. And, of course, I love love LOVE running my own business from my home. Being a stay at home mom isn't easy, and it often isolates you from the rest of the world, but there are way too many benefits to ever let the negatives get in the way.