Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pear-Cranberry Crisp

I made this last night for our small group and it turned out yummy. Sorry, no pictures!

Here's the basic fruit crisp recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.

Fruit Crisp
5 cups sliced, peeled cooking apples, pears, peaches, apricots, OR frozen unsweetened peach slices
2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts or coconut
  • For filling, thaw fruit, if frozen. Do not drain. Place fruit in 2-quart square baking dish. Stir in granulated sugar.
  • For topping, in medium bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon. Cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. stir in nuts or coconut. Sprinkle crumbs over filling.
  • Bake in a 375F oven for 30-35 minutes (40 minutes for thawed fruit) or till fruit is tender and topping is golden.

My Adaptation
  • I used 3 pears, diced and NOT peeled, and about half a bag of fresh cranberries - basically enough to cover the bottom of my dish. I kept adding pears and cranberries until I liked how the proportions looked in the dish.
  • I probably used more like 6 heaping spoonfuls of white sugar, and if I'd thought about it I probably would have stirred in a few tablespoons of flour to thicken the filling, although it was nice as it was - not too juicy but not dry.
  • I have no idea how big my baking dish was. I just picked one that looked like it would hold enough for everyone. It was an oval CorningWare dish that came with a wire carrying rack.
  • I used whole wheat flour and about 3/4 stick of butter in the topping, and I used a food processor to cut in the butter. Then I remembered the oats and used a pastry blender to add them.
  • I used nutmeg, cinnamon, AND ginger. :) And no coconut (I didn't have any) and no nuts (I didn't feel like chopping them).

I've also made this successfully with frozen blueberries and cranberries. I usually just eyeball the amounts - which is kind of how I cook everything. It's not very useful for sharing recipes, though! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

DIY Laundry Detergent.

I've wanted to try this for a while, so today's the day. I found several recipes online, some that require cooking on the stove and others that make a dry powder. They all use basically the same ingredients, just in different proportions.

Borax, washing soda, and grated soap.

I used a 4:4:1 ratio.

You use about 1/4 cup per load.

I'll let you know how it turns out. I still have a teeny bit of my regular detergent left, so it'll probably be next week. Also, I'm not using this on H's clothes or diapers until I'm sure it works.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Laughter is the Best Medicine, Part Two.

Twenty minutes. Seriously.

Thanksgiving Songs.

I Saw the Light

I'll Fly Away

Gracie dancing

and Hueston's first exposure to the family classic, "Groundhog"

A Very Bowen Thanksgiving.

Four generations met up at Lake Tenkiller, Oklahoma for a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving house party. There were 27 people all told: Grandma Jo; Jerry & Patty, Kimberly, Lindsey & Matthew; Brenda, Audra, Megan, Krissi & David; Sandy & Bobby, Kerry & Kit, Brett, Lexie & Kylie; Janet & Larry, Sarah & Andy, Gracie & Garret, and the three of us - David, Katrina and Hueston. We had a great time introducing Hueston to everyone (Kim, Lindsey and Matt were the only ones who'd met him before), eating a lot, and making lots of noise. David even got in a couple of games of Scrabble.

The drives there and back were blessedly peaceful.

Six bedrooms (I think) and three bathrooms.

Grandma Jo meets Hueston Parker.

There was lots of singing (video coming in a separate post).

The great-grands:
Garret, Lexie, Brett, Kylie, Gracie, and Hueston

Garret tries to rescue David from the leaf pile smackdown.

The three of us got out for a walk after our big Thanksgiving lunch on Friday. Hooray for the Ergo! This was David's first time to wear it.

New hat.

Hueston laughed for 20 minutes at Lindsey and this box of Tootsie Pops.

We didn't manage to get everyone into a family picture (wrangling 27 people is hard!), but hey, maybe we'll do it again!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas Wreaths.

Janet, Sarah, and I got together yesterday to decorate Christmas wreaths.
Can you guess whose is whose?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do You Ever Get Bored?

I was asked that question this week, so I thought I'd post what I did today, a pretty typical day at home. It seems like more when it's all written out! Or maybe it seems like less...

7:30 a.m.: Wake up.
Change Hueston's diaper, dress him, and begin feeding him breakfast. Watch the latest episode of "Glee" on Hulu, check email and Facebook.

8:30 a.m.: Take out trash, call David at work to say Hi.

8:45 a.m.: Shower, while Hueston sits just outside the door.
Get dressed, dry hair, brush teeth.

9:15 a.m.: Eat breakfast (toasted chocolate chip pecan banana bread and orange juice) seated on the floor while Hueston plays on his quilt. Read two pages of Phantom Island: Wind.

9:45 a.m. Hueston's second breakfast (we're on a Hobbit meal schedule).

11:10 a.m. Put Hueston in bouncy seat, asleep.

11:13 a.m. Hueston wakes up, but is content. Start a baked potato in the toaster oven, open and sort mail. Eat another piece of banana bread.

11:35 a.m. Change a diaper.

11:40 a.m. Tummy Time on the quilt. Eat a cheese stick and drink a cup of green tea.

12:05 p.m. Hueston gnaws on my knuckle.
This actually lasts five full minutes.

12:10 p.m. Stand at the front door so Hueston can stare outside. This actually lasts five full minutes.

12:15 p.m. Walk around the house naming everything Hueston looks at. Standing in our room this sounds like "Ireland pictures. Fan. Mommy. Fan. Ireland. Fan. Ireland. Mommy. Fan." Then we progress to looking at our reflections in the mirror.

12:20 p.m. Put Hueston in his swing.

12:25 p.m. Change a diaper.

12:30 p.m. Stare out the front door again. Being or looking outside usually has a calming effect.

12:32 p.m. Walk around the house. This also usually has a calming effect.

12:34 p.m. Put Hueston in bouncer. Eat baked potato with right hand, dangle toys over bouncer with left hand. This also usually has a calming effect.

12:50 p.m. General fussiness continues as I try to clean up a little.

12:55 p.m. Hueston begins luncheon (we skipped elevensies). I check email and upload photos from my camera.

2:10 p.m. Change a diaper.

2:15 p.m. Tummy Time!

2:40 p.m. Hueston seems sleepy, so I put him in his swing. I sit on the floor and sing to him, but he never goes to sleep.

3:10 p.m. Playtime on the monkey-skin rug.

3:20 p.m. Knuckle gnawing.

3:30 p.m. Hueston begins afternoon tea, alternately with short catnaps. I listen to music online on Pandora.

4:20 p.m. Hueston finishes eating and wants to play.

4:30 p.m. Change a diaper.

4:33 p.m. Check the mail, stand outside enjoying the fall weather.

4:37 p.m. Tummy Time.
Think about going to the grocery store. Think about what to eat for dinner.

4:50 p.m. Begin browning some meat that needs to be cooked, and start a load of laundry. Hueston plays with his rings and we sing some silly songs (I think I even did a verse or two of "Rawhide").

5:10 p.m. Knuckle gnawing.

5:15 p.m. Suddenly remember about the meat on the stove. Put Hueston in Bumbo chair. Resume knuckle gnawing with left hand and read Phantom Island: Wind with right hand.

5:30 p.m. Fussiness signals the end of the Bumbo time. Go outside to wait for David to come home.

5:42 p.m. David arrives and Hueston sits in the bouncer while we watch the newest clips of Nerd Wars IV.

5:50 p.m. Hueston has some Daddy time while I clean up the kitchen and switch out the laundry.

6:10 p.m. David gets Hueston to sleep and attempts to put him in his bouncer.

6:15 p.m. Hueston begins dinner.

7 p.m.-ish David puts on "Ocean's Eleven" and eats PB&J.

7:45 p.m. Put Hueston in bouncer and start making myself a quesadilla.

7:50 p.m. Change a diaper.

8 p.m. Eat quesadilla and some yogurt and blueberries while seated on the floor next to the bouncer. Try not to act too interested in the movie.

9 p.m. Bath time. Lavender bedtime lotion and PJs.

9:15 p.m. Hueston has some more Daddy time while I drain the tub and clean up my supper dishes.

9:30 p.m. Hueston begins supper, almost immediately falling asleep. David puts on a couple of episodes of "The Office." I continue waking Hueston periodically so he can eat.

10:45 p.m. Put Hueston in his crib. Hope he stays asleep.

10:55 p.m. Publish this post. Get ready for bed.
Good night!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Borrowed Post

This is from one of the blogs I've been reading lately, and it speaks to something I've been struggling with.
The intersection of my want and another’s need

Sometimes at dinnertime when I’m pulling out my worn stack of Corelle plates, the same ones I’ve been using for 15 years, I imagine buying new dishes. Something square and sleek and Asian-influenced, perhaps. Like this. Or maybe this?

I look at prices and remember I’d need at least enough to serve 16. I don’t have cupboard space for two sets of dishes. Yet getting rid of a perfectly decent set of dishes sounds wasteful. Which train of thought starts me imagining new cabinets, and a new kitchen floor. And, oh, as long as I’m dreaming of a remodel, how about an industrial range? And suddenly in my head I’m lusting after a $30,000 kitchen remodel instead of a $300 stack of plates.

About the time I start getting all revved up over the new kitchen idea, I happen to watch the news for the first time in weeks, and hear the staggering quote that a million kids a year die of malaria in Africa. Malaria. An entirely treatable disease. Killing a million kids a year in Africa alone.

That same evening I spend an hour chatting on facebook with my sister in Ethiopia. Talk turns to malaria again, along with all sorts of other ailments that Sophie treats every day. Polio. Mossy foot. Other ailments so ancient that Sophie’s been hunting 1930’s medical textbooks online, seeking lost wisdom about illnesses that modern Western doctors have never seen.

She tells me that some days she literally doesn’t know what to do next, she’s looking at so many people in need all at once.

“Do what’s in front of you, ” I tell her simply.

Clarity is always easier when advising others.

The next day I open an email from Shaun Groves, offering me free tickets to go see Hillsong’s new documentary The I-Heart Revolution. I’ve practically worn out two Hillsong CD’s, so I give him a quick and emphatic yes. I don’t know what the documentary is about, but if there’s Hillsong music, I’m there. (If you live in Australia or Asia, your date to see this movie is Nov. 18th, by the way)

Two evenings later I was there, traveling via film with Hillsong to some of the poorest areas in the world, listening to person after person spell out the dilemma that is continually in my mind: how much impact can I have on my world? Can my life make a difference?

In the middle of that movie, while watching a man offering gracious hospitality in the doorway of his 5 by 6 foot shack, my longing for new dishes and new floors in my comfortable home seemed as stupid and frivolous as socks on a turkey.

Walking out of the theater I clutched that feeling tight to my heart, knowing that in that moment my heart was aligned a little more closely with the heart of God, and wanting desperately for it to stay that way.

I’ve had that clarity before when coming home from travels, after seeing poverty in Ethiopia and in the Dominican Republic. Seeing the faces myself feels different, somehow. It makes me more ready to act, even if acting might take me beyond my comfort zone. Even if it means I miss out on bits of puffery here and there.

The trick is to remember the faces, and to not get confused by the puffery.

May God grant that clarity each time I open my wallet.


Right now a group of bloggers is in El Salvador, experiencing the work of Compassion International in that country. If you are longing to make an impact in this crazy mixed-up world of ours, would you considersponsoring a child?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall Festival.

Hueston went as Mr. Amazing.
(Didn't know he was a superhero? Well... now you do.)

...and David took his turn in the dunking booth.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vital Stats.

BIRTH - 7 pounds, 5 ounces - 20 inches
2 DAYS - 6 pounds, 11 ounces
1 WEEK - 6 pounds, 9 ounces
2 WEEKS - 7 pounds, 3 ounces
2 MONTHS - 11 pounds, 4 ounces - 22.25 inches
And, as of this afternoon...
4 MONTHS - 17 pounds, 10.5 ounces - 27 inches
That takes him almost off the charts at the doctor's office!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkins, Revisited.

I bought some pumpkins last year and thought I'd have better luck with them. I did roast them, puree them, and eat the puree in yogurt with some spices (yum), but they didn't turn out as flavorful as I'd hoped.
So I've just bought two more (for the same price as six last year - ouch!) and I'm determined that they will turn out better. And that I won't wait a whole year before I document how I use them. Here's hoping!

Global Issues.

I just discovered this site ( and it reminded me of something I heard at a conference recently.

If you have the means to buy a book and the skills to read it, you are privileged.

I need to constantly rethink what I have and how I use it. We're trying to scale back, but sometimes getting rid of things feels like such a production because I want to do it responsibly.
This has become more of a concern since Hueston's birth. As I think through the things I want to teach him as he grows up, I realize more than ever that I need to model them first. Maybe I'll list them here for some measure of accountability. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Pinnacle.

We have reached it - at least for the moment.
Bedtime: midnight
First wake-up: 6:53 a.m.
I think that counts as, how do you say, SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cousin E.

I usually post videos of Hueston, but here's a gem I just unearthed from Thanksgiving 2008, when Hue's cousin Emmett (and his parents) visited us.

We look forward to when the boys can meet each other this Christmas!

Science Quiz.

I'm glad to know my brain hasn't entirely turned to mush, although all those super-de-duper brain cells or neurons or synapses or whatever it is I'm supposed to be gaining back post-partum don't seem to have made their presence known yet (never believe the Tyra show!).
I took this science quiz earlier today, thanks to Adam's blog, and I'm proud (and a little surprised) to say I got all 12 questions right. The interesting part is that it also breaks the scores down by age, gender, and educational level, so you can see how you stack up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Catching up.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Bath time. Soon we'll move to the real tub.

Car seat minus newborn insert, and with straps and head pillow moved up.

Sleeping peacefully during a thunderstorm while the weatherman predicted 90-mph straight-line winds outside.

Getting better at tummy time...

...and holding onto things.

First try with the Ergo. So far, so good; we're doing one leg in, one leg out.

Ready for his close-up. Three months old!

Our family at three months.

Monday, September 21, 2009

And again...

11 p.m. to FOUR-FIFTEEN a.m.
I think I've read that the medical community takes "sleeping through the night" to be midnight to five a.m.
[Cue "Hallelujah chorus"]
And yes, Nana, he is usually awake more during the day - so you won't have to take the stay-up-'til-six shift this time in order to see him awake. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009


So after Hueston has eaten, he smells like macaroni and cheese. And poopy diapers smell like eggs.
Does that mean anything?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Children's Lit Plug.

In a time when I'm reading articles about the death of libraries and books being e-published instead of printed on paper, I was thrilled to see that HarperCollins is releasing brand-new editions in one of my favorite children's series.

I didn't read these as a child - in fact, I didn't discover them until I was about 25 and working at Borders Books & Music. Shelving children's books for hours every day has its advantages!

These books are on the 4th-8th grade reading level, which in my opinion includes some of the best stories out there. They're probably not books that my son will care much about, since the main characters are all girls, but I'll recommend them nonetheless. The titles being re-released this month cover high school years, but the series starts following its heroine at age five. The stories are based on the author's own life - sort of a cross between autobiography and historical fiction.

I read Nancy Drew, too, and some girls read Trixie Belden, but these are different and well worth checking out if you love children's literature or just some good characters.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Slices of life.

He's starting to reach out and grab things, such as the blanket he loves to stare at.

Asleep on the "monkey-skin rug."

Post-bath modeling.

You want me to do WHAT?!?!?

Cool new outfit.