Sunday, October 31, 2010

New muffin in town

This new muffin rode in on the back of the Tasty Tuesday linkup. An applesauce and fruit muffin with no sugar (can't you here sheer glee as you read those words) originally posted here.  Since I do live on a farm, like to cook and have recently made applesauce I thought this recipe would be a perfect one to try.  Of course I did a bit of upgrading to make it more whole-foodish: substituting coconut oil for canola, using whole eggs, and a bit of pumpkin - just becasue cause I happened to have some around after all of our carving.

:: Applesauce Pumpkin Oatmeal muffins::
 Makes 6 mega muffins
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup buttermilk, kefir or plain yogurt
1 egg - find some from a local farmer
3 T ground flax seed - just throw in your coffee grinder
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 T melted coconut oil or butter
1/2 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup whole grain baking mix - I used Pamela's GF
1 T cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
3/4 cup raisins, craisins or other dried fruit
1/2 c frozen blueberries

Night before: Mix oatmeal and buttermilk.  Cover and go to bed. Great resource of why to soak grains here.
In the morning: Stir together baking mix, spices and raisins and blueberries in one bowl.  Add applesauce, flax seeds, pumpkin and egg to oatmeal/buttermilk mixture.  Combine wet and dry ingredients til just moist.
Pop into lined muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes @375.

These are so good I made them twice in one week.  The baintrain enjoyed them so much I almost didn't get a picture.

Thinking about memorizing this one...

linked to:
Jen, Rachel, Kristin , and Kelly

Saturday, October 30, 2010

T-Shirts for Sale...Get Your Fresh T-Shirts Here

T-shirts make great gifts!   
All cotton, unisex fit t-shirts, Small - XXL.  Short sleeve and long sleeve available. 

Holiday Season Special:  All shirts $15 through November.  

Just email Em your order to  
Cash, check or Paypal payment accepted.  Shipping available.
-- COLOR   Want another color? Just ask.
-- QUANTITY   1 or 1,000
Don't see what you need?  Have another idea?  Can create something for you.  


Chalkboard font, "ain't" has correction line through it.

"Go Tigers" & basketball graphic on back
Special orders accepted for other team colors/ Can leave back blank. 
(Coach Pastner, Head Coach of University of Memphis, is pretty cute, right?)

Friday, October 29, 2010

True Confessions

I don't hike.  I'm not crafty.  And, SURPRISE! SURPRISE!, I'm not festive.   I consider myself fun,  but not necessarily festive in the holiday sense.  I'm dinner party fun.  Tailgate fun.  New Year's Eve fun, not so much.

I'm not going to wear pink or red just because it's Valentine's Day or green socks on St. Patrick's Day.  I don't have lawn decorations for Easter.  I don't put together a costume or own a fashionable Halloween t-shirt AND as far as I remember tonight was the first time in my 11 years of motherhood, that I have carved a Halloween jack-o-lantern from a pumpkin with my kids.  Maybe, just maybe I did it when Number 1 was a baby - the obligatory first grandchild photo-op hanging over my head.

*Note the use of the pronoun "I".  I am certain, as I am about 99% of all the compulsory activities on the imaginary Good Mother To Do List, that 99% of all dads do not give carving a pumpkin a second thought when sizing up their worth as a father.

Anyway, it was fun, for 6 minutes, until Numbers 2-4 who were home to help, lost interest and resumed their Star Wars battle reenactment, and I was left to scoop out the goo and clean up 4,000 pumpkin seeds (IF I were Lib, I'd roast those and make pumpkin goo pie).  

I'm quite proud of the final product.  If you squint and tilt your head to the right, they don't look completely unlike the traditional theater masks representing comedy and tragedy.  Too bad I was going for a werewolf and a spider web.  At least I got my photo-op.

Another day, another story,

This post is linked over at SITS.  Check them out for great blogging advice and encouragement.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Daughter!

(... in-law...kind of)

Em and St. Joel
are pleased to announce
the marriage of 
a son
(who, as a minor, will remain nameless).

The ceremony took place this week
at recess
on a beautiful sunshiny day.
Two very good buddies served 
as best men.
The bride's attendants included
most every girl in the class.
There was not a dry eye 
on the playground when 
the newlyweds sealed 
their union with
"just a hug, no kiss."

Another day, another story,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

16 Balls in the Air Guide to Boone & Blowing Rock, NC

Some people might call it crazy.  Who am I kidding?  The only word to describe driving over 1,200 miles roundtrip with four boys ages 11, 9, 5 and 3 is...insane.  If you take into account St. Joel drove us halfway to hand off the traveling circus to my dad, a.k.a Papoo, who drove us the rest of the way to his home in North Carolina - borderline certifiable.  We managed to go a full week with no illness, calamity or emotional breakdown.

Our plans for Fall Break were ambitious.  "Boone Day"  "Cousin Visit Day"  "Blowing Rock Day"  Not to mention Thursday.  There was a lot of fun to squeeze in.  I'll just hit the highlights of our favorite places.

Mast General Store
This retail institution has several locations in the area.  We stop in the downtown Boone location for old fashioned toys, candy, RC Colas & Moon Pies, quality outerwear, clothing and a zillion other fabulous and unusual finds.  Number 2 scored a great set of joke teeth with his travel spending money.

Two words - Cinnamon Rolls.  Well, they also have countless sandwiches on their menu.  We've been eating here for years and have yet to make a dent in the extensive menu.  Fun, low key atmosphere, kid-friendly (is there another option?!?!).

Appalachian State University
My parents' alma mater.  Beautiful campus.  Back in the day, my dad played and coached for their great football team (Google App vs. Michigan).  Looks like someone may need to start saving for out-of-state tuition.  Go Apps!

I don't hike.  I'm not outdoorsy.  Hell, I had on ballet flats for this outing (cute black patent leather ones from Payless).  I must admit this impromptu "stroll" through the woods was a highlight of our week in NC.  Just a simple trail and beautiful creek, plus 3 visiting cousins and a BB gun.  Perfection.

Family Billiards
This favorite spot is literally at the foot of the mountain my Dad lives on.  Simple food, pool tables, arcade games.  Perfect family night out.  If you're lucky, you'll get there before they run out of Chicken Tortilla Pie (I wasn't so lucky this trip).  *No alcohol served - Very "Family" Billiards.

Mellow Mushroom Pizza
Good pizza.  Good beer.  Good sign.

Fudge.  Chocolate dipped pretzels.  Ice Cream.  There are Kilwin's locations all over the country, but when we are in Blowing Rock, we always make a stop in for Kilwin's Tracks ice cream and a block of fudge.  Yummy!

Mystery Hill/ Gem Mining
How to describe Mystery Hill?  Unique?  Educational?  Simple, but fun.  You just gotta go and you'll know.  Bonus:  Admission price gets you get a discount on indoor gem mining next door.  The boys love sifting through the mud looking for gems.  I actually have a pair of emerald earrings made from a find on a past treasure hunt.

Since St. Joel couldn't make the trip, we met him in Atlanta on the way back to West Tennessee.  We used the 24 hour window to bother innocent bystanders at the hotel indoor pool plus squeeze in a visit to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and took a minor detour through Chattanooga on our way home to visit the Tennessee Aquarium.  Both of these were outstanding and we hope to go back soon (specifically within the next 12 months since it was cheaper for us to buy family memberships versus 1 day tickets).

Another day, another (long) story,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Truth Hurts

"Let me tell you what marriage is about," Number 3 just said to Number 4. "It is when you get to wear a tuxedo and the other person wears a wedding dress and then you kiss and a baby comes out."

"WAAAAAAAAAAAH.  But I want to marry you, Mommy!!!!  WAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Another day, another story,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Doctored-up Oatmeal

I thought my Mama invented the  doctoring up concept.  Ask any of my childhood friends: she never met a pre-made pizza that didn't get extra cheese, olives and pepperoni.  I inherited her doctoring skills - it's a rare recipe I don't work to improve with more garlic, or less sugar

 Have you ever heard groaning or whining when you answered the what's-for-breakfast-question with "Oatmeal?"  I decided to keep at least one morning groan-free by doctoring up plain-old, predictable oatmeal.  That way, my answer to the morning question could be "Something new!"

::Doctored-up Oatmeal::
             makes 5 hearty helpings

2 c oats  - soaked overnight
2 apples, I used this  (shameless plug for my PC friend!)
3/4 c raisins
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1 T  Korintje cinnamon (another one!)
1/4 c maple syrup
5 T coconut oil or butter (the healthy fat plus soaking the oats helps digest easier!)
Optional Toppings: chopped nuts, fresh cream, yogurt

Cook oatmeal like you normally would, adding coconut to the water about a minute after the oats.  When there is still a bit of liquid left, add the raisins and apples.  Once all the water is absorbed, add maple syrup and coconut oil.  We always use cream on top to cool it down, but a few wanted yogurt and I like the crunch of nuts. 

They liked that it was almost sweet enough with the fruit.  HA!  Actually, I liked that.
They liked that it wasn't plain oatmeal and that I was liberal with the maple syrup.  Although mexicanjumpingbain did say that it was  too much coconut...I'll amend that next time.

What do you doctor up?

linked to: Rachel, Jen, Lisa, Kelly and Kristen 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A teenager now lives here

About one hundred thirty thousand hours ago the clock started ticking on this transitional birthday.  It's the one stringbain began chattering about, dreaming of and otherwise idolizing right after he celebrated turning 10.  The day he would be a even sounded amazing and unique to me.  How could it happen that he would actually cross the threshold and become a  teenager? I've been refusing to think of that ticking clock for the last 2 years.   I encouraged him to enjoy every minute; not to wish away the rest of ten, eleven or twelve just waiting to be 13. I took my own advice and delighted in it right along with him. 

He didn't sit around and  twiddle his thumbs while the Magic Age loomed closerHe learned how to play guitar and still be an angel. He's becoming a confident driver on our dusty back roads, figured out some birds and bees basics , and developed his own fashion sense as well as an original hairstyle.

Everybody know what constitutes the first thirteen years for a healthy boy: learning to feed yourself, potty training, riding a bike, camping out.  The next 13 are sure to hold quite a few wild cards.  I hoped by creating a new tradition - a Bonmitzvah - he would be well equipped for some of those curve balls. 

Taking into consideration what a cool, responsible, independent man-child he's become, I knew a run of the mill cake-ice-cream-presents party was not going to be enough to commemorate this milestone.  He had a few requests: chili dog buffet with a bonfire and s'mores pie instead of birthday cake.  Easy enough to accommodate.  I had a few requests as well.  Only I made mine to friends and family and anyone who's ever mentioned how much they like him.  I asked all those friends and relatives to send me a piece of advice or a blessing for stringbain's next 13 years.  If they couldn't attend, I would read the advice around the bonfire for them, hence the Bonmitzvah.

Top 13 pieces of advice for growing up:

**Develop and maintain a strong relationship with God**Buy the good windshield wipers and make sure you have the fluid to use them with**Towel popping is a bad idea**Be careful who you give your heart to**Develop and maintain a hairstyle suitable for all occasions**What you and your family think is much more important than what your peers think**Confidence and contentment are the keys to life**Beware of the "cool" kids**French fries make everything better**Find a karaoke song you can rock**Always be a gentleman, practice by opening doors**Don't kiss a girl til you are 18, because it's all you'll think about from that point on**It's never too late to purpose to change**

I hope one hundred and thirty thousand hours from now he remembers the advice he received from 4 unrelated, different sources: 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make your paths straight.

Happy Thirteenth Birthday, bug. My wish for you is that straight path into adult-hood. 

*linked to Amanda and Emily*

Sunday, October 17, 2010



Numbers 1-4
1 laptop
3 cell phones
3 iPod touches
8 DVD's
4 magazines and a book
7 outfits each + 2 pair of shoes + 2 backup changes of clothes/ per child
7 outfits + 4 pair of shoes + 1 pair boots + 6 backup changes of clothes for me
Hair, makeup, jewelry miscellany
4 Halloween costumes (never too early to celebrate)
4 pillows and 2 blankets
1/2 chocolate chip cake
Portable, fully stocked pharmacy
Bag full of trains
Bag full of Star Wars action figures
Assortment of swords, guns, helmets

Check. Looks like we've got everything.

Another day, another story,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Soar for a Cure Hanes Sleepshirt Giveaway

Everyone is affected by cancer in one way or another.  Friends, family and even closer to home, cancer seems to be all around us lately.  We are proud once again to help spread the word about Hanes partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research.  

Hanes recently launched an online Design and Buy program that allows visitors to design their own T-shirts adorned with messages of hope, love and support. Hanes will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from all custom T-shirts through the Design and Buy program to Komen for the Cure. 

Also, Hanes will offer its “Pink Collection” of panties, bras, socks, and tees designed to create awareness for the cause. As part of the collection, Hanes spokesperson and film star Melina Kanakaredes has designed three T-shirts meant to inspire and encourage others to join her in the fight against breast cancer.  For more information, go to

To show our support, 16 Balls in the Air is giving away 2 Hanes Soar for a Cure sleepshirt and sock sets.  To enter, just leave a comment telling us Who or what inspires you to be a survivor? or What does it mean to be a survivor? on this post between now and October 31 and we will choose 2 winners at random.  Be sure to leave your email and/or your blog address.

We love our readers,
Em and Lib

What they Wore Wednesday: to the barn

Versatile: the most accurate word describing boys being raised on a farm.  

They are creative and they can cook!  They also head to the barn in the mornings to milk.  The bonus item for me is observing them catching on to some style lessons, even if they are just headed to the barn. 

Left to right:  SB is wearing: Jeans: Paper, Denim and Cloth, Life is Good t-shirt and Adidas running shoes.
LB is wearing: Levis from target, Nathan Clark George t-shirt and hiking boots I can't remember the name of but cost an arm and a leg.

Wanda, the cow in the background, is in her birthday suit!


Monday, October 11, 2010

They can cook!

Part of my campaign to raise boys future daughter in-laws will love involves teaching some basic domestic arts.  Cooking and knowing their way around a kitchen, sewing buttons on, you get the drift.  

What better place to find delicious, tried and true recipes than our reigning Junior League cookbook from the 50's? Ideally* I plan our meals for the week on Saturday or Sunday  - which is when I ask them what they want to make that week.  They always make a dessert and I give them a few options.  Since we are knee-deep in apples, it seemed logical to put apple pie into the rotation. 

A simple 6 ingredient recipe, without a complicated crust: perfect for a 12 and 10 year old.  Though not overly enthusiastic by the peeling and coring aspect of pie making, they didn't totally balk.  I left for work and came home to a scrumptious smelling house and this beauty on the kitchen counter:

Obviously they didn't peel quite as many apples as I'd suggested, but the results were stunningly delicious. 

::Apple pie (older) kids can make::
6-8 large, tart apples
1/4 c. sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 stick butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. flour (or ground oats, if it's for breakfast)
1 T cinnamon + a dash

Directions: Peel and slice apple into a deep dish pie pan.  (Obviously you'll have to teach them how peel and slice ahead of time.)  Cover apples with 1/4 c sugar, dash of cinnamon  and the lemon juice; stir to combine.  Mix the cinnamon into flour,  then cream butter and brown sugar and work in cinnamon/flour mixture.   Crumble this over apples and bake about 30-40 minutes in 350 degree oven. 

Delicious on so many levels...

*ideally is rare - I really work hard to have the basics (eggs, milk, butter & cheese) so I can throw something together if the planning doesn't happen...

linked to:

Decorating Tip: Versatility is Key

In-between-furniture dining room OR Star Wars barracks?

Another day, another story,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A blur

It's hard to believe our yearly trip to the fair has come and gone.  It's hard to believe that my oldest will be 13 in less than 2 weeks and I'm feeling the downhill stretch of parenthood.  Maybe it's fall, or maybe it's just watching all the circular motion at the fair that makes me nostalgic.  Whatever the cause, the effect makes my roller coaster parenting journey seem like nothing but a blur

Like trying to grab a glistening, wet fish parenting is slippery.  It seems like nothing is changing though we are always moving on this merry-go-round.  When it's time to move on to the other rides the children are bigger, brighter and the whole cycle with the wet fish starts again.

Pictures only serve to prove it.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Whole Truth

... and nothing but the truth.  So help me God.

"How was school today, boys?"

"We talked about drugs and alcohol in my class and I told the guidance counselor that you made me drink alcohol when we went to the beach," reports Number 3, aka The Kindergartener.

"You what !?!?!?!"

"Yes, remember that time on the way to the beach this summer when we stopped at that gas station with the Subway in it and we got that apple cider and he (Number 2) told me it was alcoholic." he calmly explains.

An email and a call to My Very Favorite kindergarten teacher later, the story was verified and will be explained to the school counselor first thing in the morning, hopefully before Child Services gets wind of it.

Another day, another story,


Ketchup is a vegetable, right?

Another day, another story,

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lesson in Real Life

Sometimes, you try your very best, work really hard to achieve something and you fall short.

Sometimes, you learn more from not achieving a goal than if you had sailed easily through to success.

Sometimes, an 11 year old's character is revealed in not how he won, but how he lost.

Sometimes, a mother's tears of pride are inevitable.

Another day, another story,


Since this my first Wordless Wednesday post I'm bending the rules.  I had to grab my camera after mexicanjumpingbain's introduction:

Mom, we need more bb's and look at the moon!

Couldn't make it up if I tried!



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