Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Whole Wheat Strawberry Muffins

Our good friend Meredith Stabler brought us a meal (amazing chili with corn bread) and dessert (rich chocolate Guinness cake and blueberry muffins) the other day and inspired me to make my own muffins. We didn't have blueberries, so I decided to use strawberries. I got the original recipe here and changed it a little. As a result - wonderful whole wheat strawberry muffins for a healthier breakfast!

For 12 muffins you will need:

- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup chopped strawberries


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (or 190 degrees C).

2. Oil a 12-cup muffin tin or use paper liners.

3. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 egg. Beat lightly. 

4. In a large bowl, mix 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 cup sugar. Toss in 1 cup chopped strawberries and stir to coat with flour. 

5. Pour in milk mixture and stir together.

6. Fill muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops bounce back from the touch. 

7. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans.

8. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Teach Your Child To Sleep Independently in 3 Days

It is 4:30 am. My husband is standing next to our son's cradle. 25 - that's how many times he has picked up and put down our fussy baby. I get up to replace him. Alex is crying again, and I lift him up. 26. He becomes quiet, and I lower him into his crib. This time, he is soundly asleep. Yes! Not too bad for the first night of us teaching him how to fall asleep in his own bed.

Every book and blog I have read on baby sleep told me that the secret to teaching your baby to fall asleep independently is to put him or her down while he/she is pretty sleepy, yet still awake. At that point, your baby is supposed to fall asleep on his own.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Except we didn't start as we meant to go on. When Alex was born, we couldn't keep our hands off of him. My mother who came for a month to help out was carrying him all the time as well. As a result, little Alex learned to fall asleep on somebody's chest rather than in his own bed. Even if he was asleep on my arms, he would wake up and start crying as soon as I lowered him. And now that he is 6 weeks old, we are finally working on undoing what we have inadvertently taught him during his first weeks of life.

This is how Alex prefers to sleep - on my chest

The Baby Whisperer book suggests picking up a crying baby, comforting (meeting his need), and putting him right back down. When he cries again, pick up, comfort, put down. Repeat. After 26 up-and-downs on the first night and only 2 on the second, Alex fell asleep all by himself yesterday! This baby had been used to falling asleep only in someone's arms and crying as soon as he was put down for 6 weeks, so changing his habit in only 3 short days is truly a miracle! There may be relapses into the old behavior, of course, but we are optimistic and will stick to the method. Next on our new parents' agenda - sleep through the night. We are up to a 5-hour stretch, which is great. Praying for a full night sleep to come soon!