Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top ten ways to start your day

Breakfast.  The way to start your day.  

Whether you like it or hate it, I'd wager you make sure your children eat something - (hopefully nourishing) every. single. morning.  I know everyone has a different approach to nourishing and nutricious: mine includes protein.  I've read enough and done enough in-home research to know sugary boxed breakfast options make the baintrain grumpy, persnickety and seem to cause general morning disgruntlement.  Plus they're hungry again in about 30 minutes.  But a protien packed meal at the beginning of the day seems to balance everyone's appetite and mood and keep their bellies full for for several hours.   

Nourishing whole food for breakfast - there's an obvious concept.  Most people think if it's going to be healthy it's going to be green, chalky and disgusting.  But, what if that whole food looked and tasted a bit more like dessert? What if it happened to be sugar free and in cupcake form?  Think they would try it?
::Top ten ways to start your day::

1.Pumpkin Bliss bars go ahead and make two pans - they'll want them for an after school snack and dessert! making them early comes with the added bonus of licking the spoon(s) yourself.

2.Basic Breakfast cupcakes  Replace that yucky packaged muffin with this grain free, sugar free, protein packed goodness!  Could be your new make-enough-for-the-week-on-Sunday-night and-don't-think-about-breakfast-again-for-five-days-recipe.

3.Coconut {breakfast} pie  Have you ever tried to slip your kids a piece of pie, and them refuse? 

4.Chocolate chip Cookie {for breakfast}  No one will be able to stop smiling at your breakfast counter the day you serve these. Trust me. 

5.Super food pancakes: why not re-vamp your old recipe and pack it to the brim with wholesome morning goodness like veggies? You'll be pleasantly surprised...

6.An original breakfast  Simple. Quick. Easy and Delicious. If you overcook this tidy little recipe, it becomes an instant to-go food.

7.Lip smacking {breakfast} Lemon Bars so good you can't burn out, but a big piece will fill you up til lunch!
8.Breakfast for a future frat boy  Why not get your kids in the habit now of teaching them how to convert a recipe into worthy breakfast goodness?? 

9. Pizza. For breakfast.  They will not refuse this yummy surprise no matter how early they have to rise!

10. Breakfast Lasagne Takes a few extra minutes to prep, but pancakes+ custard+ fruit = yum!

Any one of these recipes could convert a non-breakfast eater into an avid breakfast enjoy-er.  I dare you to work these recipes into your breakfast routine and not be impressed with how much your morning improves!


linked to amanda and kelly
Rachel, Jen,


Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Birthday train

After four months, the Bain birthday train has chugged into it's home station.

There are hardly words for this boy.  He's determined and sure, perhaps sometimes too certain his plans and ideas must be implemented.  His joy and enthusiasm for daily life spill over like champagne Kombucha into our days. He's also sweet, kind, and quirky; most of his actions as colorful and full of sparkle as his crystal blue eyes.  When his birthday party had to be postponed because his best friend and brother spiked fevers he smiled and said he understood.  And meant it.

Over his chosen birthday breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes this morning he said he doesn't want to get any bigger. He told me eight was his favorite number, and if he grows any more he won't fit through his secret fort entrance in the woods. 

Astonished, my heart melted like the chocolate in his pancakes at the thought of his wish (and mine) coming true.  Of him always needing the silky shorts and wanting 3 different types of kisses before he can go to sleep.

I could only say Amen to his wish that this year passes much slower than the last. my wish is for us to practice enjoying every single moment and that he can find a way to expand his secret fort entrance and stay a little boy a bit longer. 

Because I know before I turn around another year's birthday train will be pulling into the station and ten is a whole 'nother ball game.


Monday, January 16, 2012

One {family} Word

I had a lot of time to ponder and meditate on the one word for 2012 on our holiday Texas drive.  I wondered if the possibility of one {family} word even existed.  

We are loud. We are busy.  We are Gluten-free as much as humanly possible.  Not to mention our at times over and under scheduled-ness.  Mile after sunny Texas mile slipped by as I prayed, asked and sought what word we might sail under this year. 

The Armor of God kept coming to mind, and I wondered if we might Practice getting dressed spiritually in January.

So here's my/our 2012 one {family} word plan for us:  it will be low key and easy to maintain, otherwise the chain connecting us to the anchor of spiritual practice will not hold.

Nothing more to do than read the passage once (or twice) a day and talk about how to put it into down-to-earth-real-life use.  I printed out a copy of January's reading and taped it to the kitchen counter.  We take turns reading it aloud (overlapping some reading practice!) and mention what we'll need most that day. Our goal is not to memorize, preach or figure out the meaning of the original language.  Simply to put emphasis and awareness on twelve different spiritual principles we want to practice throughout the year. 

No pressureNo perfection.  Not really a quantifiable goal, just a family of six.  Practicing our sailing skills through the waters of 2012 under one little word.  

LInked to Ann
Linked to Layla 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

OH! OH!Oatmeal

There are so many incredible recipes on this here internet, it seems shocking the only good recipes used to come from Junior League cookbooks.   Living in the age of apps that can take your on hand ingredients and spit out a recipe  transforming them into a meal, a printed recipe seems as antiquated apple pie.
Last week the two recipes that topped my to-try list were from Rachel and Mrs B. The recipe from Rachel had some undesirable ingredients (it was adapted from White Lily flour) and Mrs B's recipe for baked oatmeal didn't recommend soaking the oats.  As I looked over both recipes wondering which I would try first (I knew one with Crisco would require a major makeover) I decided to remake them both, blending them into one terrifyingly delicious breakfast treat.  Though not grain free, this recipe qualifies as a dessert breakfast with no refined sugar.  So go on, serve it up with a living beverage and tell me what your crew thinks!
Caramel topped OH! OH! Oatmeal
OH! OH! Oatmeal
8 (fill-up-a-growing-boy) servings 
preheat oven to 350

2 c oats (gf, rolled, quick or regular) - soaked overnight in 4 c water
1 can (about 2 c) pumpkin
1/2 c coconut sugar, sucanut or xylitol
4 fresh eggs, room temp
2 T pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 t vanilla
1/4 c melted coconut oil
1/2 c coconut oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4-1/2 c coconut sugar (to taste)
1 c chopped nuts (I used almonds and cashews)
1 t cinnamon

Add all topping ingredients to small sauce pan and heat until bubbly.  While the topping is coming together, drain the oats and add to a mixing bowl.  Throw in all the other ingredients, mixing well with a wooden spoon.  It doesn't have to be wooden, but this recipe doesn't require a mixer either.  The oatmeal mixture will be a thick-ish cake batter.  Pour it into a greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish and bake (with timer set) for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven (or just carefully pull out your rack) at 15 minute mark and pour topping over partially baked oatmeal.  It will kind of sink in, but you should still see most of it on top.  Hence, topping.  Bake for 15-20 more minutes.  Cool for 5-10 before serving. 

The boys were still out at the barn when this came out of the oven, so I asked Mainbain to give it a try.  He deserves credit for dubbing it terrifyingly delicious...the entire baintrain agreed!  

I think it's one recipe worth printing!

linked to
Rachel, Jen,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Be Bold

Be the bold, 
beautiful person
4 year olds 
you are.

Another day, another story,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One word 2012

Have you heard of picking one word to christen your year? 

I first experienced it last year, when the word possibility kept coming up over and over in a pay attention kind of way in January.  So, last year was the year of possibility: I learned to live in a sea of it and I found myself enjoying it the more it knocked on my door. 

New job for Mainbain? Possibility that turned into reality. Trip to Africa? Possibility {still}.  Ability to be a more compassionate mamma? Possibility, with ample practice opportunities.  Trip to France with dear, newly reconnected friend? Possibility.  Joy and excitement in cheering best friend onto start new charity.  Possibility turned reality.  Whether or not they turned into realities, this word kept me stable. Sane on the sea of what am I doing and how did I get here days.  It was an anchor, pulling me back to what I believe I was divinely led to experience last year.

I envisioned myself alone at the back end of a sailboat with the sail completely unfurled.  The sail is white and emblazoned on it is the one big word I will sail under and anchor myself to this year.  

reminder button compliments of Melanie
Content.  I'm shaking my head that this is the word I can see on 2012's sail.  I've been a destination junkie for most of my life - always looking for the Bigger Better Deal:  an event to look forward to or an improvement to my current reality.   I know this year's word is going to mean growth. And that the growth will carry the possibilty {probability} of growing pains. So Content? I'm not gonna lie - it makes me nervous.  I would like the cheat sheet on how to maintain contentment, please.  During wins and losses, strep throat and disappointments, I think I could put St. Paul's cliff's notes to good use this year:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:11-13

I can learn to swim in the sea of this new word; after all I've got a whole year for this possibility to become my {new} reality. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Another Simple Baby Step: homemade dishwashing detergent

I love simple. And I love baby steps.  I know that makes me unique, like everyone else out there, right? 
From drinks to family reading time to basic eggs, if it's simple I will do it over and over and over again and if you live within earshot I will tell you all about how easy it is to do it yourself.

Hence, this simple baby step is a gem of a recipe.  I'm not going to go into how many chemicals Cascade has in it, or how expensive organic phosphate free detergent is.  I'm just going to tell you that this is the only alternative to commercial dish washing tablets, gel or powder that you can use without chemical impunity and afford to make.   If you made this simple green cleaning baby step, you've already got half the ingredients.

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent
Makes enough for a month

2/3 c Borax
2/3 c Washing soda
1/3 c Kosher Salt
2 packages lemon Koolaid (or) 1/2 c lemishine

Mix it all up.  Use just like regular dish washing powder. Sleep better now that you and your family are eating off chemical free plates and forks.  We (read: the baintrain) are not major rinsers, so you can trust if I'm sharing it, this recipe will actually clean your dishes! We've been using it for months.

*UPDATE* yes, koolaid has yellow lake #5.  However the proportion of it in the recipe is so minimal I use it anyway.  You can substitute Lemishine if concerned.
linked to
Rachel, Jen,


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Taking it to the limit

I never could have guessed this mothering challenge would have been laid at my door step, but a Mom's gotta go the distance.  This time I had to take it to the limit by dumpster diving for mexicanjumpingbain's last vestiges of little boyhood: his silky shorts.

The Silky Shorts.  The only thing he ever attached to. He called them Thilky Thorts before speech therapy corrected his signature lisp.  Other kids have blankies or na-nas or passies or stuffed giraffes, but MJB latched on this unconventional item.  They are ragged green and white swimming trunks he conned off his older cousin when he was just three.  He wore them til the seams gave out and now all that holds them together is a sturdy waistband.  He may technically be too old and too tough for a blankie, but Silky Shorts are most definitely still in his bedtime game.  

I didn't know how attached to them he still is until this week.  We endured a rampant stomach virus and his turn was so virulent I decided to trash his top bunk sheet.  There was no way I could gag my way through cleaning it up and sheets are much cheaper than my sanity.  Never thought a thing about it, except to tease him that he got the prize for yuckiest stomach virus cleanup experience ever.  

A few nights after he'd recovered he said he couldn't find his Silky Shorts.  He had looked everywhere; I crawled around, looked under the bed...and then it hit me.  He'd been sleeping with them the night he channeled Mount Vesuvius.  I had stare into his innocent crystal blue eyes and told him how sorry I was, that they must have been in the sheet I threw away.  He took it pretty well, I thought.  I kissed him and offered to find him something else, but he'd never endure a substitute.  He's been a dedicated Silky Shorts guy from his first encounter. 

We took a short day trip together yesterday when a cloud of sadness and despair seemed to come over him all of the sudden.  I parked the car and asked him what was wrong.  He was moving his forefinger together with his thumb.  Like he was trying to remember what his Silky Shorts felt like.  That made me a little sad, but he had huge tears brimming his eyes when he said, I just really miss my Silky Shorts.  He didn't exactly cry, but him working so hard not to let those tears spill is what made me take my mothering game to a new limit.  

Before I could stop myself I blurted out: how about we go through the garbage and see if we can find them once we get home?  I wasn't sure if the garbage man had already come, but told him we could scrounge through the trash, hoping he would agree it would be too revolting, but he was eager to high tail it home.

This wasn't my first Dumpster dive, so after church we put on dirty clothes and rubber gloves and took an extra empty garbage bag to begin the search.  My heart sank as I peered threw opaque white plastic and couldn't recognize a thing that looked like a wadded up sheet.  Undaunted, he waited as I cut the bulging bag open, directed me to hold the resevoir bag and we boldly began digging through half a week's worth of garbage.  Of course it wasn't on top with the wadded up paper towels, tissue paper and contents of the dust bin.  I can, however vouch for the incredible expansion ability of those Glad bags.  You really can force a lot into their flexibility.   We agreed to go all the way to the bottom, and that's when we saw it.  The (no longer) white sheet ball.  Still not sure the Silky Shorts would be in it, I told him to stand back since this par was sure to be disgusting.  With as much dexterity as my mis-matched rubber gloves would allow, I unfurled that sheet and pulled out the highly contaminated Silky Shorts.  

Digging through wet garbage and extracting the Shorts was my limit.  He had to carry them into the laundry room.  Where they are now soaking in SCOE 10x, which is guaranteed to remove any remnants of my previous limit: vomit. 

Here's his version:


What would you take it to the limit for?

Saturday, January 7, 2012


When your firstborn son grows into a 12 year old and stands in your kitchen wearing a blazer, cool dark jeans and man-sized shoes, you will cry your eyes out too.

Another day, another story,

Friday, January 6, 2012

Catch up

I need to catch up.  And there's no way to do it other than doing it.

I feel like I've been living in super fast forward. December vanished. Days zipping by or evaporating before I felt like they'd even started; two weeks passing with magna celeritate.  It's difficult to pick only 10 things to share to jump start regular posting...

 I decorated my mantle on Christmas Eve,  in between making cookies and church.  That's right, the imperfect tree was up the first weekend in December, but I wanted new burlap stockings.  And I don't sew.  So, I printed a picture from Pinterest, bought the materials and handed the project off the my sweet can-sew-from-a picture Mamma.  Apparently time evaporates for her too...
 I knew it was time to leave my cozy bed and join the baintrain on Christmas Morning when I heard the world's loudest  "UH-UHHHH" :: Stringbain reading his airplane ticket letter from Santa. I barely got to snap limabain opening his...
 Our Christmas morning was surprisingly unhurried, since they woke up almost before the break of dawn.  Nevertheless, got to love butterbain's wet hair.
 The day after Christmas butterbain hosted a birthday slumber party for six 5-6 year olds. The pic is blurry because they hardly hold still, even while sleeping.
 I was so incredibly tired the night after Christmas, I felt like I was falling asleep with my eyes open. I pressed Stringbain into service as the activities coordinator for our crazy house slumber party.  In the span of an hour he organized and led a pillow pet war, some sort of gladiator pillow fight showdown, a  hip hop dance party and shushed them all into watching Kung Fu panda 2 as a grand finale.
 Speaking of sleeping: do you have any idea how long it takes to get an entire living room floor full of boys to sleep?  They are like a pig pile, if one moves, they all have to rearrange themselves.   Any idea how darling they are once still, quiet and snoozing?

Note: your just-turned 6 year old might love accessorizing a bit too much when he says he needs spurs for his new bling-y birthday boots
On his actual birthday, we surprised butterbain with a puppy; the kind he's been asking for since he was 3.  A Wiener dog.  Because Santa delivers pillow pets, but real dogs are mom and dad's job.  I'm sure this new addition will offer lots of future post fodder once we pick her up next week.
  Where do people who live on a farm go for down time? A friend's lake house in the middle of nowhere.   We escaped the post-Christmas rainy gray-ness of Tennessee by driving 10 hours to Texas to meet the sun.
 Thankfully the middle of nowhere in Texas is a bit closer to civilization than it is in Tennessee.  Close enough and warm enough for a trip to the zoo on the next to last day of 2011.  Butterbain may qualify a a real big 6 year old, but he's still baby enough to take a ride on Mainbain's shoulders.  Those sweet days are numbered...
Speaking of numbering days, I had to capture the sun shining through their hand prints on  the busy morning we decided was back to work-back to school day.  I took it as a testimony to growth: to relish and see the beauty, instead of rushing for the window cleaner.

In reverse these little snips and pieces hardly seem like much, but when life is so full of ordinary grace it is worth catching up on.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

100% Effective

The only 100% effective birth control method I know of:
Take 2 of 4 sons, ages 4 and 6, to meet your friend and her two college-aged daughters for dinner at the local pizza joint.

Possible side effects include:

  • Use of the word "penis" > 13x per hour
  • Use of the word "butt" > 6x per hour
  • Excessive references to Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Chipmunks
  • An average of 3-6 drink spills per child/ per hour
  • Detailed description of an orangutan's private parts (with reenactment of precise position of aforementioned orangutan) from a recent zoo trip 
  • A lesson on "The Four Bad S-Words"

Another day, another story,

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year / New Plan

If you prepare a home-cooked, nutritiously balanced meal, which everyone in your family eats willingly and gratefully each and every night, stop reading now. For the rest of you, here is a new plan I put in place today that you might want to try.

I attached an $8 chalkboard to the outside of the pantry door and wrote the days of the week on it. There are 6 of us, and I took into account our chronic eating out habit. I wrote slips of paper with each day on them and everyone chose a day. That person will choose the menu for that night. If it's chicken, we ALL eat chicken. Pizza, we ALL eat pizza. (Sounds so simple to some of you, but around our house -  not so much.)

Tonight - Number 2 has chosen "Lasagna".
Monday - Number 1 is still thinking.
Tuesday - Number 3 has chosen "Chikin" (I am certain he means nuggets.)
Wednesday - Basketball games = No dinner plans 
Thursday - Hmmm.. Someone picked pizza for St. Joel and I?
Friday - Number 4 will probably pick pizza. Again.

We built in some loopholes. I am not into force feeding. Number 3 has long history of throwing up at the sight of a food he doesn't like at home and in restaurants. Life's too short to go asking for trouble. There will be bread, salad or other sides to keep anyone from starving in the suburbs. Also, all participants are welcome to make themselves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a substitute for the night's meal.

My hope is simply an attempt to cut down on the short order style of kitchen we have created through the years. And that after a while, peanut butter and jelly will get so old that they will have to try something new, like oh, I don't know, Mac and Cheese?!?!

Another day, another story,


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