Picture Time!

Ezekiel is going to make some calls. Actually, its a little sad but I think he was trying to text.

At first this was really really cute, Josh was building him a tower!
But then I noticed that Daddy didnt want Zeke to knock it over, lol.

Just thought I'd add those pictures, although for once in my life I don't have a lot to say.

I WAS thinking earlier today about making a new CD. You see when I was pregnant I made Zeke a mixed CD of lullabies. It's full of Iron and Wine ect. Because, you know, there's no way I'm going to listen to some awful lullaby CD all day. Well now I'm thinking there is no way I'm listening to a bunch of awful toddler music either.... Any suggestions?

My first Giveaway!

I am very very pleased to announce that I have not only my first, but my first 3 giveaways all lined up for you, my lovely blog readers! This has been an idea floating in my head for....ok I will admit its only been floating in there for a little over a week. You know me, thought to completion has to be short or I lose interest. But still, its amazing that I have been able to throw it all together so quickly and I really hope that this is able to become a permanant part of The Coco Cafe!

Each giveaway with be in a different month, and yes, you read it in my little giveaway button up there, the theme of these (hopefully permanant) giveaways is Z's Favorite Things! And Zeke's absolutely favorite, FAVORITE thing? Being carried in a sling. Seriously, I dont know how either of us would have survived those first months without one, back when he had to be held ALL. THE. TIME. And even though he's outrgrown THAT particular phase, I still use one of my many slings almost every day. So my first (few) giveaways will be various types of slings.

And March's sling? Why a ring sling of course! More information to come when the giveaway opens on March 1st... And the lucky winner's name will be drawn on the 10th. So mark your calenders!

Whats for Dinner Wednesday- Chili!

What's for dinner? Only the most awesome chili in the universe! I mean, I hate to brag. And I have know some pretty awesome chili in my time. It seems like everyone, in fact, has their own special chili. But mine might be best. It is simple and delicious and awesome. And while part of the reason my chili is so awesome is because of my awesome self-basting cast-iron crock pot...well it was fairly awesome even when I was just slow cooking it. One more time- awesome.

You start off by browning some ground beef with onion and garlic in the bottom of your awesome (I swear that was the last time) crockpot/other kind of pot.






Then you add some diced tomato (in a can, if you are like me and cant find any tomatoes that don't depress you) and a box of beef broth. You could always use water of course but the broth makes it extra thick and delicious. If your husband isn't a total wimp (like mine) you can also add a jalepeno, or a half a jalapeno, for spice. Better go less is more, though, you can always add later and it will get spicier and spicier as it cooks.





Of course as soon as you've got some liquid in there you have to add the beans. I have a variety of beans in the house at any given moment, but Josh and I's favorite is to use red kidney beans and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Like 2/3 kidney to 1/3 garbanzo. And even though that is what is featured in THIS picture, the chili shown below is actually made of kidney and black beans, lol.
Now a note on beans: DO NOT use canned beans. Gross. If you use canned beans then you will NOT have awesome chili, I'm sorry. You might have ok chili. I will go that far. But canned beans are almost nutitionless and full of high fructose syrup. Nasty.


Last throw in your spices. Chili powder and cumin. I tend to use a LOT of chili powder. I mean, I would say put in 1/4 cup for mild even, more like 1/2 cup if you like it hot. And the cumin you dont have to go quite so crazy on. Maybe 2 tablespoons? Its hard for me because I dont measure, but that sounds right. Just use this as an excuse to taste....a lot.


Now you just have to let it simmer all day, checking it every now and then to see if you need to add any water. 6 hours simmering makes good chili. Dont have all day? Well dont worry, you dont have to use canned beans! If you just soak your dried ones overnight then they will get soft enough for a shorter cooking time.
I actually do that with my oatmeal. If you soak steel cut oats in boiling water overnight they only take like 5 min to cook in the morning. Nice.

Yet another


One more thing to add to the every growing list of things I've found Zeke doing during blogging time healthy independent play time. Yes, eating turtle food.
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Have you seen the latest MckMama post!?!?!?!?!?! A MckMama cruise!!!!! OMG I MIGHT BE HYPERVENTILATING!!!!!! She is to blogger moms what Hannah Montana is to 12 year olds. I think I might pass out just IMAGINING what a MckMama cruise would be!!!! More exclaimation!!!!

Conversations with Zeke

Ezekiel only knows 3 words. There is "dada" which always means Josh. There is "mama" which roughly translates to "I want" (and usually it really IS mama that he wants but sometimes its not and its still the word he uses, lol). And then there is the newest and most exciting word which is "duck". "Duck" might actually mean "duck" too, but more likely it means "bath". This is our fault because all this time when we ask Zeke if he wants to take his nightly bath we ask him if he wants to "see his duck" or if its time to "play with his duck". Oops.

I've also been working on sign language with him. I figured he was ready when he started using body language. He reaches up when he wants to be picked up and he shakes his head "no" when he is finished eating, or really if you ask any question at all. But mostly its been to no avail. The words I do the most are "nurse" and "more". But I think Zeke figures he has his own way of communicating these needs. If he wants to nurse he just pulls at my shirt and headbuts me in the chest. If he wants more food he just keeps opening his mouth and waiting. Point taken.

Anyways, this wekeend we took another step forward in communicating with our baby. Or so we thought. You see, Zeke learned yet another word. "Bob". He says it ALL THE TIME. A conversation with Zeke the last 3 days generally goes like this:

Me- "Do you want more carrots?"

Zeke- "Bob."

Me- "Oh you are all finished?"

Zeke- "Bob."

Me- "Can you say something else Zeeker-bee? Can you say 'mama'"

Zeke- "Bob."

Me- "You can say 'mama'. Say 'mama' Zeke."

"Zeke- "Bob."

And he does it just like that too. No "bobobobob". Just once and really clear. "Bob." It was freaking us out. Who in the heck is Bob anyways? Where did he hear this word. Is he talking about Bob the Builder? He's never even seen that show! Or ANY show!

Then I remembered. You see, everyday Zeke and I read a few books. And one of his favorite books that gets the best response from him is 15 Animals by Sandra Boynton. He always will sit for that one, which isnt true of some other books. And sometimes he even laughs. But the name of 14 of the 15 animals? Bob. And while I do enjoy that book and its excellent ending twist, and while I am really happy that Zeke is actually paying attention while I read to him, this "Bob" things is really annoying. So I have hidden the book.

We can read "Bedtime Peekabo" for a while. He thinks its pretty funny as well.

An upcoming contest

I am very very excited to announce I have 2 (and hopefully soon more) giveaways all lined up for you, my lovely blog-readers! One for the month of March and another in April! I will reveal the prize and open the giveaway on Feb 28th and draw the lucky winner on March 10th, so be sure to check back!

In other news...In my spokane playgroup we have a "get to know you" thread with the question "Do you feel as if you've let yourself go since having kids?" or something along those lines. I filled that thing out at least a week ago, probably more. And I didn't really think about the question. But now its on my mind. What does letting yoursel go really mean? How do you tell if you have? Have I?

Luckily I was able to answer "no" with the somehow comforting thought that I probably never "had myself" in the first place. In order to let yourself go you had to have yourself in hand at some point right? I dont really believe I ever have. My fashion sense has always veered rather erratically from the really eclectic to the really basic. I stopped wearing more than tinted chapstick and mascara everyday when I hit 15 and the initial make-up excitement wore off. I NEVER wear any type of perfume or scent, my hubby hates the stuff. And at the spa party I threw at my house this summer I had to admit that my nightly cleansing routine consisted of dove bar soap and water...when it consists of anything at all.

And I suppose these things have gotten slightly worse post-baby. I have even LESS time to wash my face every night then I did before. I wear jeans even MORE often...ok 5 out of 7 days a week... I can be found very often with food/spit up/just plain spit on my shirt, a lot of the time I even know its there and just havent bothered to change it. Nursing bras offer absolutely no support, perky I am not. I cut my long flowing hair into a standard "mommy" length.

That being said I wouldnt say I've gotten "sloppy". I am right with Tim Gunn when he says there is something to being "a little cinched, and a little starched". I accessorize like mad, hats scarves, necklaces. I brush and style my hair everyday, even if it IS an easier job than it was with 3 feet of hair. I also still own heels...and wear them too. I have only one pair of sneakers that I avoid like the plague and even when excersizing my only concession to practicallity is to at least wear flats, usually ballets. I have also never tried to "dress up" sweats. And while I have maybe, just maybe, spent an entire day in pajamas...I didnt leave the house in them.

I think at the end of the day I've just gotten more realistic. There is a uniform to this job, motherhood, and its ok to admit that. And to allow it. But I'm still trying to have fun.

A lesson and an admission

Today Zeke and I went to Huckleberries. It's an organic store, one I rarely frequent because it is really overpriced. Oh how I miss the Boise co-op sometimes....how I long for a Trader Joes... Anyways, the point is Zeke and I had to go today. Because its the closest seller of homeopathics that I know of. And I was told today that my treatment of Zeke's teething (belladonna and chamomilla) would be made better by adding some arnica. I will try anything at this point. Seriously, I HATE teething. Mostly because my son spends his days looking like this:

Anyways, so there we are at Huckleberries, and like I said I rarely go so I'm looking around a bit. When I find this:I LOVE this company! Yes, I had heard of Ezekiel 4:9 products before I named my son Ezekiel. No, I did not name my son after them. But I will admit that I love their breads and cereals. Oh sooo good. So of course I had to buy a box. And I'm eating it right now warm with milk. I didnt know they sold this cereal at Huckleberries!

I also felt a little foolish when the check-out woman asked what my son's name was....while she was holding my cereal...

Another foolish moment? I was in the homeopathic isle, chatting with a woman, like you do. Or at least like I do. I am always chatting with strangers. I suppose some people arent. The point, however, is that I was telling her that I was making a teething tincture for my son. And she was complimenting me on how wonderful it is that Im not just buying him asperin. I basked in the compliment, feeling like a VERY good mother, and forgetting on purpose the motrin that I gave Zeke only the night before...and have given him MANY desperate nights. My little bottle is almost empty. But like I said, I was forgetting that part.

In fact I was feeling so very bloated in my mommy-pride that when she changed the subject to baby foods I very proudly stated that my son never ate processed foods. I had never bought a single jar of baby food but instead lovingly made all of his food by hand, I said. And she oohed and aaahed me. Telling me what a GREAT mom I was. How healthy my son must be.

And then....well then God decided to teach me a lesson about PRIDE. And maybe also about HONESTY. Because Ezekiel chose that moment to get bored and reached into my diaper bag where he KNEW I kept some Gerber Star Puffs, sweet potato flavor if you must know. And he took the tube out and started trying to open it. Because he knew what was in there. And I knew that he knew. And the woman knew that he knew.

So ok, shoot me. My son eats Gerber Star Puffs.

Whats for Dinner Wednesday- Sushi!

Today's What's for Dinner Wednesday is actually what WE ate for dinner....oh last Saturday I suppose, for valentines day. Home-made sushi! It's easier than it seems. And I don't even have a fancy sushi-making kit.

Note: This is not in any way, shape, or form traditional sushi. This is very much American sushi. Be warned.

First you want to make some rice. You need to use short-grained rice to make sushi. Long grained isn't sticky enough. People have told me that if you rinse short grained rice really well before cooking it and then add a little rice vinegar and lay it under a fan then it will get sticky. But why add the steps when just buying the right kind of rice is easier? Short grained rice is delicious anyways.

Then you have to lay out your Nori. You can find it in the oriental section of almost any grocery store. Lay it smooth side down.



Add on about a cup of rice, leaving space at the bottom and top. Then add strips of your favorite roll ingredients. I used raw tuna, cream cheese, avacado and green onion.




Spreading out your fingers to keep pressure even and going slowly to keep it tight, roll your sushi roll up, bottom to top. A little rice vinegar or water will help the nori seal where the end meets.


Slice with a sharp knife.
Serve with soy sauce and wasabi :)





In food-related news, I've decided that in order to save money I am going to re-organize the way I buy food.

I am completely unable to be a cupon clipper. I have tried, it doesnt work for me. And I alwasy feel guilty about it. Because we spend far too much on groceries around here.

But from now on instead of planning my meals weekly and going every week to the grocery store I am going to plan an entire months worth of meals at once and do 1 really really big grocery shopping trip every 4 weeks at the local (new) Winco. That place is big savings, they have great quality meat, and a suprisingly good organic selection. I love Winco, even if it IS a good 30 minute drive from my house and kind of a pain to bag your own groceries with an 8 month old climbing out of the cart (he can slip right out of the seatbelt). Once a month, I can handle Winco shopping. Especially since Josh has agreed to either 1. come with me or 2. keep Zeke at home, his choice.

Then I will just have to buy my produce weekly (since it would go bad by the end of the month) and I buy most of that at farmer's markets anyways in the spring/summer.

Anyone else do their shopping this way? Have any advice?

Maybe he thinks its a wardrobe?


If you don't get the title, well then you probably had a very sad childhood.

Anyways, I have posted many such pictures as of late. My son loves opening cupboards, and pantries, and drawers, and well pretty much anything that just *might* have something of interest inside. I can no longer EVER find my measuring spoons or cups for example. Zeke just LOVES measuring spoons and cups. And he also loves to put them away. Just not where they belong. They could literally be anywhere right now. Its a little adventurous. Good thing I almost never measure anything.

And many people have said "Haven't you ever seen those little locks you can buy?" or "Haven't you ever heard of child-proofing?" And I would like to answer that yes, yes I HAVE heard of childproofing. And we DO have locked areas. There is a small drawer that holds knives and other sharp kitchen tools. It's locked. And although I do all of my house cleaning organically and home-made I do have some bleach locked away as well. Sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, earth be...darned.

But this is my thing with childproofing: I have seen so many homes that I think really over-do it these days. Attaching a child-proof like to every single door of any kind. Of course dangerous materials should be locked away where there is no way a small child can get to them. And the same goes for areas that are unsanitary to be played in (like toilets) or create a just HUGE mess (like art supply closets). But I also think a growing child needs areas that are open to be explored. And also areas that are NOT allowed to be explored but also COULD be.

I'm afraid that by not having the first type of area, an area that is open to be explored, then I would raise a child with no imagination, no sense of discovery, and also take away a great learning tool. Zeke playing in the kitchen and pulling out all of my pots and pans is annoying at times. Especially to Josh when he walks in only to kick a drying rack and stub his toe, or to me when I cant find my whisk and have to search for a half hour, only to find it in the fridge. But at the same time I know that Zeke is learning thru this play. He is learning how open drawers. He is learning where things belong (he already knows how to find his bowls), and that everything has its place. He loves to take out a frying pan and a wooden spoon and "pretend" to cook and he loves the freedom to be able to do it by himself.

And then I'm afraid by not having the second type of area, an area that he may not get into but physically can, that I will raise a child that cant ever be taken anywhere. Because we all have freinds who's homes arent child-proofed. And I can name 1,000 places I take Zeke where there are areas he may not go into. If my entire house is split into two catagories, the first being areas he may get into and can get into and the second things he may not get into and physically cant, well then how do I teach him no? By keeping a few areas that are not locked by he is not allowed to get into I get daily practice at home teaching him boundaries and obedience. That way when we are out in public and I say "dont go into that room" or "dont touch that radio on the floor" well he's used to it in a way.

A great weekend

We had a really great weekend around here.

To start off Kaitie and I opened up SpokaneMothers.com around midnight on Friday (or as close to midnight as we wanted to stay up!) and wow did we get a response! We are swamped with membership applications already, after 2 days! And we haven't even really promoted yet. We are both really excited about this new group and feel so blessed to see it blossoming so soon. I'm hitting both malls today promoting, so hopefully that will bring us even MORE new members!

And then with all of THAT work behind us, Josh and I were able to have a very relaxing valentines day. I got flowers:
And we started eating Josh's birthday cake a day early:
I suppose that's what I get for making the cake a day before the party, lol. After I frosted it we where both just standing there in the kitchen...giving eachother and the cake the eye. Lets just say we have NO self control in this family when it comes to sweets. Next year I will be making his cake an hour before guests arrive and NO SOONER.

We also ate some delicious home-made sushi. We LOVE sushi and can easily spend a good $50 dollars on the stuff so making it at home seemed like a pretty good idea. It was easy and if you stop by Wed I'll even show you how.

Then Sunday was our weekly sunday dinner/birthday party. We ate WAY too much potluck chinese food and then came up with an AMAZING idea for a bed and breakfast that Jen, Adria, and I are going to run, you know, just as soon as we get the million or so in start-up that we need. We also reminisced quite a bit about the summer of "Josh and the girls". I've been reminiscing quite a bit lately, in fact. Maybe I'm getting soft?

And today the greatest news of all. I went bathing suit shopping while Josh watched Zeke (wait for it...wait for it...) and FOUND ONE I LIKED! Yes folks, a bathing suit I liked, not just a bathing suit I settled on after many desperate hours spent in dressing rooms (crying) and many days of going home emtpy handed (and crying) because I couldnt bear the thought of trying on any more suits. I found this miracle suit on my first store, it was only the 3rd I'd tried on! And I didnt even cry once. And that is a first for me on both counts. And on top of everything, it was only 50 dollars. Which is more then I will spend on anything else but WAY less then I would spend on a bathing suit that didnt make me cry.

Either bathing suits have gotten more flattering or my expectations for myself have gotten less flattering. Either way I'm happy.

A tale of peril and woe

I have been called fearless...audacious...bold... I had my wisdom tooth removed; sans anesthesia. I gave birth to a 9 1/2 pound baby; vaginally. I made my husband cut his hair once. I killed a scorpion with a shovel. I wax every summer. Minstrals have been known to sing of me.

But today. Today I almost met my match.

Now those of you that are parents will know what I mean when I say the words "blow-out". Many of you will even ask, as did my husband, "Was it a bad one? Was it a throw-away-the-outfit-and-cut-your-losses-blow-out?" And I would answer no...oh no it was so much worse. This was a burn-your-house-down-and-count-yourself-lucky-blow-out. This was epic. Minstrels will never sing of this day, out of respect, for the dead.

Let me set the scene.

Zeke had just finished eating no less than a cup and a half of applesauce for lunch. It was roughly a half hour passed his nap time and he was still going strong playing underneath the table with a spoon. I was on I.M. with my husband. Probably complaining that Zeke wasn't tired. I don't really remember. My memory right before the "event" is a little fuzzy.

But that is when it happened. And it started with a smell. The words "chemical warfare" came to mind, but then I also heard a noise. Grunting. And something else I don't think I have the stomach yet to describe.

I quickly told Josh I was going to change a diaper and then force Z to take his nap. The naivete! I still didn't know what I was up against.

Panic began when I laid Zeke down on his changing table suddenly to notice there was poop all the way up my arm. My arm! And my shirt! Another white shirt gone.

I breathed slowly. I started repeating my birthing mantra. I took off my shirt. "I can do this," I told myself. Just breathe thru it.

But then I looked down at my son.

It would be more logical to name the places of his body that were NOT covered in feces. But it is more therapeutic to name all the places that were. So it had gone up his back all the way into his hair line, where it looked like he had smeared it into his ear and across his face while I took my shirt off. He was now rubbing both hands in it and I used my last ounce of strength to throw a binky in his mouth before it went THERE. At this point I think I blacked out for a few seconds.

It was only when I came back that I noticed it was also seeping out of both the leg-holes of his jeans. Into his socks. Where is the safe exit point!?! I really started to panic now. Usually if the poo goes down I pull his onesie down, if it goes up I pull the onesie up! I contemplate scissors. I dont think I can carry him into the kitchen to get some. I dont want to touch him at all, to tell the truth. Nor do I want to have to throw away my good scissors.

Meanwhile Zeke is having a grande old time playing with his own poop but is starting to get impatient to get back to the ground. He starts flailing around, which is just splattering it all over the carpet, the walls, me... I have to think fast. Its time for action.

I hold my breath, say a prayer, and as quickly as possible take off all his clothes using only two fingers. The sight I behold cannot be explained in words. Wipes seem ridiculous.

I pick him up, holding him as far away from my body as possible, and carry him to the tub. I resist the urge to physically throw him in and start the water. Soon I have to start washing. I begin with throwing cups of clean water at him from afar. That helps. It gets him at least to the point where I can safely touch him. Soap, water, q-tips in the ears.

Ok, I am breathing. I am able to dress him and put him down for a nap. Then I tackle the mess on and surrounding his changing table. A hero's battles are never done.

Button Tutorial

So here is the promised button tutorial. Its so easy. Really. So ridiculously easy.

First you have to design your button. You can use photoshop, or scrapblog.com, or even paint. Make it whatever size you like because you will re-size it later. And save it as a JPEG. That means it will be yourbutton.jpg.

NOW the easiest thing to do is to save your button on photobucket. Its free. Resize it here, they have pre-set sizes you can use. Now on the right side you will see a box titled image link code. Copy and past the HTML code.

Now the last step, instert that code and your blog's URL into the following:

<center> <a href="http://www.yourblogURL.com">

<img src="yourphotobucketcode" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>


Yes, yes, it is THAT easy. Put that code in your sidebar and there is your button!

Any other tutorial requests? E-mail me at TheCocoCafeMail@gmail.com!

WFDW

So What is for Dinner this Wednesday? It's Veggie Soup! A total fav. of mine because I rarely end up leaving it as JUST veggie soup, I always have to throw something extra in to spice things up. But let's just start with the basic recipe first and then get crazy with the add ins!

So the first thing is first! Cook some carrot, celery, onion, and garlic in about 3 cups of water. Keep it at medium for about 10 or so minutes, or as long as it takes to prepare the next ingredients.

Now add tomatoes crushed with a spoon (or of course a can of crushed tomato), green beans, a box of chicken broth, salt and pepper. Let it boil, and then simmer for another 10 or so minutes, or again as long as it takes to prepare the last ingredients.

Last add zucchini and spinach, bring it to a boil once again and simmer it again for yet another 10 minutes. Oh and if you want to add in any small noodles, rice, or orzo this is the time.

Now that is basic, simple, and delicious vegetable soup. Its fat free and can be frozen for later. I love it.

But I also love to spice things up. So sometimes I add a little something more. Or even more often I take half of this soup and the next day add a little something more.

Suggestions? Add red potato, chunks of a firm white fish like cod, dill and feta cheese to make a delicious Greek Fish Stew.

Or maybe boil it a few minutes with some shrimp, snow peas, a pinch of red pepper, and rice noodles. Then right before serving add a 1/4 cup of coconut milk and some lime juice. This makes a spicy Thai Shrimp Soup that even Zeke devours.

Want something a little simpler? Add kidney beans, basil, and shell noodles to turn your veggie soup into Minestrone.

The possibilities are seriously endless.

Zeke has news to share

Zeke has some exciting news to share! Last night, 2 days before he hit 8 months, he said his very first word! You know, his first REAL word, because dadada ect. doesn't really count.

And guess what that oh so special word was? Guess.

It was duck!

And there is even a sidways video of him saying that very word. Because believe me, we made him say it over and over again. By this time he was a little tired of it, to tell the truth.
video

A question for bloggers

What is the worst thing you've found your child doing while you are ignoring them giving them healthy independent play while you blog?

At the top of my list...this month?
Eating dirt (see above)
Climbing stairs
Throwing toys in the toilet (see this post)
Unrolling an entire roll of toilet paper

Although Ezekiel isn't ALWAYS being bad while I blog. While I wrote yesterdays post about my parents visit he learned how to use a kitchen chair as a walker.

A parental visit

My parents came to see Josh and I (and Zeke of course!) this weekend. It was a fun time. And full of good eating. We went to Tomato Street for dinner last night and then Franks Diner for breakfast this morning before they left. Two of the best places to eat in Spokane if you ask me.

I am spoiled.

And probably a good 10 pounds heavier now.

Zekers, for his part, behaved atrociously at dinner last night, but then he was nothing but a sweetheart for us this morning. And although the thing he wanted MOST was milkshake, he ate toast and egg and apricot and hashbrowns and biscuits and cheerios and grahamcrackers and everything else that we would hand him. I guess he was afraid Grandma and Grandpa wouldn't come back if they thought he was always so naughty. He filled up so full that when we came home the two of us took a 3 hour nap!

Anyways, hopefully Grandma and Grandpa come back soon. We miss them already.

As you can see, I started Twittering this week as well. So look for my Tweets on the left sidebar. At first I'll admit I thought it was a little silly, but its addicting! A lot like Facebook but better. So if you happen to have a Twitter account you should follow me. And if you don't have a Twitter account, well, get with the times people! Its the newest thing after all, lol.

And I also updated the verse of the week, so check that out while you are at it. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to You. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

Another thing to look for this week? A new blog tutorial! I got so many great e-mails and comments on my tutorial on how to give your blog 3 columns that I decided to write another one on how to make a button for your blog! And its EVEN easier. Can you use paint? Can you cut and paste? Then you can make your blog a button. These tutorials are so fun for me to write that I am asking YOU to please suggest some more for me! What else would you like to learn to do for your blog? Leave a comment or E-mail me at TheCocoCafeMail@gmail.com!

Its a....tooth

Ezekiel had an awful night last night. I mean, really awful. Tossing and turning and crying and would. not. sleep. We moved him into our bed around 1 and he STILL wouldn't sleep! He was tired. He WANTED to sleep. I wanted him to sleep. Josh wanted him to sleep. We tried everything. And he never did sleep more than an hour at a time, Tylenol induced or not.

Then Zeke grabbed Josh's finger to chew on. And Josh felt....a tooth!

Its too small to take a picture of right now. Not to mention Zeke absolutely refuses to let us look at it without prying his little mouth open and holding his tongue to the side. But you can definitely feel the sharp little bugger poked thru last night. Finally. He is almost 8 months and I was starting to wonder if maybe he was toothless, lol.

Anyways, Whats for Dinner Wednesday will be added to this later today. And it will be worth the wait (as if anyone is at the edge of their chair). It's General Tso's Chicken. Because I got a new (to me) rice maker. And even though I've always said I don't see the point in rice makers when you can just make your rice on the stove, now I am obsessed. I've eaten rice literally twice a day for a week now. And Josh refuses to eat "just" rice for dinner. So I have to make things to put on top of it for dinner. Hence, general tso's chicken.

Actually now he has outlawed even me eating "just" rice. After I told him it was what I ate for both breakfast and lunch yesterday. I have to "indulge in the other food groups". But its ok, dont worry, he says fried rice counts as ok...its got peas.

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As promised....General's Chicken! I apologize for the absence of lots pictures. My camera died half through, lol. I had to plug it in and by the time it had batteries I was finished. I am making a resolution, however, to not only be better about taking pictures but to take better pictures. From now on. So wish me luck.
Oh and also check out the recipe on the sidebar. That will stay up all week :)

So the first step is to cut up some chicken into chunks. I prefer to use chicken thigh, personally, for this recipe. I think that's what most restaurants use, at least its always dark meat. But I'm sure breast would work too. Then you want to coat your chicken pieces in the following mixture (and I will even measure!): 1 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 1 egg. Its going to be a really really really weird consistency. Trust me. You will want to add water. Dont. Just trust me. Its good.
Start some delicious rice in your wonderful rice maker at this point. Or make it stove-top. I like using short grained rice for this. Its sticky and wonderful. But I love jasmine rice as well. And minute rice is easy.

At this point your camera will run out of batteries. But dont stress about it. Just drop your chicken pieces a couple at a time in some hot oil to fry up. Take them out when they are crispy and set them to the side until they are all cooked.

NOW mix up 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup each of sugar, soy sauce, white or rice vinegar and cornstarch, a can of chicken broth, some green onion, garlic, and peppers if you want your chicken spicy (I use dried red pepper because its what I have in the house, thi chilies or bird pepper is more traditional). Heat in a skillet or wok until thick and bubbly. Stir in your chicken and serve it over your rice!

A harrowing adventure

We've been having adventures around here, lately. And Zeke has been getting into everything. Especially in the kitchen. Evidence: below. Zeke taking one of his bowls out of the drawer.
And yesterday Zeke decided to mix his love of getting into things with the new adventure theme and scare Mommy half to death while he was at it.

So here I was yesterday morning, waiting for some friends to come over for a playdate and working while I waited on my secret project. Which isn't nearly as secret as it used to be. And isn't being finished nearly as quickly as I thought it would, either. Apparently programming teams are rather useless. Never hire a programmer to do a web-designers job. But don't worry. I found one of those, or rather Kait was smart enough to think ahead and marry one a while back. Good job Kait. And its ok, everyone, it WILL be finished. Give me another week. Maybe two. And then there will be the big reveal.

But anyways, I was minding my own business is the point. Something that actually isn't allowed when you have a 7 month old son.

Because guess what Zeke was doing? Climbing my pantry. And pulling down an empty Mason jar. And smashing it. And cutting himself.

And obviously I heard the crash of broken glass, and then heard the scream, and ran toward my son. But it's equally obvious that by the time I reached him it was too late. There was blood everywhere, let me tell you. And even though I ascertained right away that it was a small cut on his finger and that there was no glass stuck in there, it was deep! It took a good 20-30 minutes for me to get it to stop bleeding. Long after Zeke had gotten over the pain and shock of his very first cut and decided he would rather play than have his finger held, it was still pouring blood. Which of course made it really easy to make him stay on my lap so I could keep pressure on his cut.

Finally it did slow down enough for me to put a band-aid on it, however. And Zeke went on his merry way while I swept up the glass and changed my shirt. Which was white. And is now ruined.

Time to re-baby-proof.

A controversial post

This Sunday we're going to get controversial. I know, I know. I HATE getting controversial. I really do. But I was asked recently how I could possibly support gay rights and remain a Christian. And while I answered privately, I also felt led to make my answer public as well. Because this is actually a subject I am quite passionate about (surprise surprise, can anyone find a subject that I'm NOT passionate about?). So here goes.

How do I, as a Christian, support gay rights? I think, honestly, its truer to ask why, as a Christian, I shouldn't? I mean, lets be clear and honest right here from the start. The Bible very clearly states homosexual acts are a sin. And I am a strict follower of the Bible. I am not, in any way, trying to say that it's not a sin. It is. It is a sexual perversion of what God meant sex to be. Clear and simple, whether you want to hear it or not that's what the Bible says.

But I don't think supporting gay rights is the same as supporting the homosexual act. It's all a matter of loving the sinner but hating the sin, really. Something we should all be really good at because we all have a lot of practice, its what we do everyday with ourselves. You are a sinner, my friend, as am I. Yet we love ourselves. And as soon as we learn to love others the same way we will all be a lot better off.

But anyways, this is my thing: We can hate that sin, as we should, without persecuting it the way we seem (as a church) to feel the need to. I mean think about it, its the number 1 worst attacked sin ever. And I don't really understand why. I don't know where Jesus said it was the worst sin ever, where He said to pursecute those outside the faith with this particular sin. Yet I see it everyday persuecuted above and beyond any other sexual sin. Ive never heard of anyone trying to make co-habitation against the law. That's a sexual sin equally bad in the eyes of the Lord. I've never heard of anyone trying to make it illegal for people in their second marriage to adopt children. And I hate to break it to you, Jesus said that any man to marry a divorced woman is committing adultery. Plain and simple, God never intended divorce any more than he intended homosexuality. They are both perversions of His plan, they are both sin.

And I really don't see what we think we are achieving with all this hatred. Except a bad rep maybe. I cant count how many friends and acquaintances that have told me this one issue has stopped them from joining the church. Just the fact that they don't want to be seen as or be surrounded by "haters". Really. Christians equal haters in these people's minds. That is so backwards to me. Christ was about love. About loving sinners above all. Yet all we are showing the outside world is Hate. Fear. Zelous Persecution of those different than us.

And we arent getting anywhere. Making it illegal for gay couples to get a legal marriage (because lets not joke ourselves, after the way we have behaved no gay couple wants to even ENTER our church, let alone get our blessings) does not in any way change our own marriage, their position of sin, or anything else. Refusing to speak to your gay daugther/sister/friend is not holy or right, its hateful and prideful. She has just as much right to not speak to you, your sins are equally dark in the eyes of the Lord.

Lets take this energy, I say, and turn it into something more like what Christ would be doing. Loving people. Hating their sin, yes, but loving them. Welcoming them in all their brokenness, in the brokenness that we ALL have, with open arms. When did Jesus get involved with the laws? When did he ever persecute anyone? Arent we supposed to be HIS followers?

And maybe, just maybe, if we change our ways, the gay community can forgive us. I like to believe they just might.