Baby B and His Birthday Cupcakes

It is hard for me to wrap it around my head that Alistaire turned a year old today. Everything that went so slowly with my two oldest just seemed to fly with him. Where they walked steady at a normal rate, little man tears around and barely teeters or falls, and has walked since he was 10½ months. I crossed my fingers he would fit in his 1st birthday onesie this morning, it was a tight squeeze 😉 It will be interesting to see his height and weight next week, at his 1 year checkup.

(Where does “B” come from? It was Walker’s name for the Baby, when he came home)


He was my biggest baby, 10 lb., 7 ounces born at 38 weeks and well over 22″ long. He came out ready to take on the world….or at least it felt like that. He is my little snuggler. If I was given a gift, it was getting a baby that loves me so much.


After going through a 3-ring circus I got all the boys together and tried to get at least one photo where they all smiled. Oh well. Two out of three is just fine. Hah….


Alistaire (1), Ford (15), and Walker (almost 3).

Walker decided B needed balloons. Lots of them. We all know who is playing with them, right? Yes.


Cupcakes? Of course! I took a well-tested and favorite vegan vanilla recipe of mine, and changed it up a bit, decorated in blue for my little man.


Coconut-Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1¾ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ¾ cup Coconut Palm Sugar or my favorite, Wholesome Sweeteners
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners (used Reynolds StayBrite).
Stir the vinegar into the milk, let sit for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the milk mixture, oil, sugar and vanilla together till smooth. Pour on top of the dry ingredients, whisk till combined.
Divide evenly between the prepared cupcake liners (use a disher for best results).
Bake for 20 minutes or a toothpick comes out clean – be careful they do not over bake.
Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Frost when cool.
Makes 12 cupcakes.


Vanilla Frosting



Beat sugar through salt together with a hand mixer, till smooth. Color as desired.

Frosting will be stiff, for piping. If desired, add more milk for a creamier frosting.

Pipe frosts 12, spread on, will cover up to 24.

The finishing sugar is via Wilton (the clear is dye free).

Little man enjoying the rare winter sun….




Little Feet

No recipe tonight….just a happy smile thinking about today. Kirk and I took the boys on a hike in a nearby state park. We found a lull between rain storms and set out. Walker ahead of me….like with his older brother, Ford, I have outfitted him in mini-me gear. I go by the theory my children should have as nice as gear as I do! Walker loves his backpack.


At the trailhead, Kirk carried Alistaire today. Him and Ford set off and soon left Walker and I in their dust. Which was OK…..



As Walker and I hiked the loop, hand in hand, I realized it was the most relaxing hike I had ever taken. Ford was always a strong hiker, and where Walker is as well, he is also curious. He asks questions about what he sees. Just him and I, slowly walking, breathing the cold air of the Cascade foothills. We looked at root balls, ferns, moss and more. We met dogs and humans. We looked down and saw we both had similar shoes on.



Near the end, Kirk was waiting for us. Someone had to have a trekking pole suddenly!



Alistaire riding in the backpack carrier. Kirk said he sat quietly, watching as he and Ford walked and chatted.



I am so happy with todays stroll with Walker. It lifted my spirit so much. I hope you all had a wonderful Sunday!


Fears, Rain & Cupcakes

The past 9 days have been unnerving to say the least. Alistaire fell backwards and smacked his head on my desk leg (the cool design from Costco was apparently not such a great idea, it has “X” legs). After a couple of Dr. visits to watch the lump on his head, and then x-rays on Tuesday (that was very traumatic – he howled and howled and I felt horrible having to hold him down), his pediatrician wasn’t sure. They couldn’t see any fractures and overall the baby was feeling great. After the Dr. had a conference with the specialist in Tacoma they decided to wait. But holy his head looked awful. He had a HUGE lump on the side/back of his head that only stabilized in size today.

Daddy’s hat covers a multitude of lumps!


Yesterday our Doctor called us and said he had a conference with another colleague, this time at Seattle Children’s Hospital. They recommended we bring him in for more testing, to rule out any internal pressure, under the skull. We took the risk of a CT Scan so we could get a better look.

The good news?

No internal pressure. No fractures. Just one hell of a swelling, which could be seen in the scans. For me, the scans were worth it. It allowed that tight feeling across my body and head to dissipate. To breathe again. To not be hyper-freaked that the swelling would get even bigger.

The downside is it is basically blood. And it is going to take a good amount of time to come down. He might get left with a small reminder of it above his skull, calcified. That’ll be a family lore to tell for years!

The happiness of my week was that. And then he walked last night!! By himself!! Those first steps 🙂 So happy!


“Coffee with Momma is the best!”

After so many stressful and sleep-deprived nights, filled with storms of thundering rain and snow, walking out of the hospital this afternoon to clear skies and dry roads was wonderful. And it seemed fitting to come home to what I had baked last night. I have said it before, when I am stressed, creating is an outlet for me. And due to my stress I had forgotten about a bunch of bananas. They were at that stage. The one where if you don’t make banana bread/muffins/cupcakes then the next day your compost bin is burping after eating up $3 of organic vittles (that might be the fat squirrels that chewed a hole into our bin)……So I got busy and made an inspired banana cupcake, moist inside with a snappy frosting on top. And oh yeah, they are vegan friendly to boot. And very toddler n’ teen approved.


Banana Cupcakes


  • ¾ cup really ripe banana, measured after mashing (about 2)
  • ¼ cup neutral oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp pure almond extract
  • 1¼ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup walnuts


Preheat oven to 350°, line a 12 count muffin tin with foil lined papers.

Place walnuts on a small baking sheet, toast in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool a bit, then finely chop in a mini food chopper.

Whisk wet ingredients smooth in a medium bowl.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl, add in walnuts, then wet ingredients, Stir till just mixed.

Divide evenly between liners, about ¼ cup per liner.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and tops are not damp. Let cool for 10 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack. Once cooled, frost as desired.

Makes 12 cupcakes.


Maple Cream Frosting



Beat shortening with a hand mixer until smooth. Beat in salt and maple syrup, then add in sugar. Slowly add the milk, as needed, beating till smooth and just spreadable.

Spread on cooled cupcakes as desired. If piping, add a bit more milk.

Decorate as desired. banana chips make a nice edible topper.


PS: Don’t forget to enter for a chance at a copy of Vegan Slow Cooking – 2 more days left!

He Wasn’t So Sure

With most everything, I have been a more relaxed Mom the third time around. I don’t have the hyper-need to do everything early. I figure he will tell me when he is ready and so far that has worked. And if anything he is making his goals early on his own. On food though…I learned to not press that issue with my first son, Ford. Ford had issues with textures (most likely due to his being an Aspie baby). Ford didn’t eat much in solids till he was a year old and even then it was a battle. Walker on the other hand wanted to eat as soon as he could but I held off till around 6 months – the longer their tummies can mature, the better. With Alistaire, I held off till he was 6 months old, I watched for his cues. His eyes would follow Walker, he was drooling while Walker nibbled in front of him. He was ready!


“Don’t mess with me, I have a big brother” 😉



On the other hand…he wasn’t so sure after his first bite:



I had to love his face –



Maybe not so bad after all? And he is getting hair finally! And it is so light in color….I am squealing over it.



A full belly and a happy baby? Yes!



Lest us forget about Walker – he has been adding so many new words lately! It is a joy to listen to him 🙂




Battling and Winning the Baby’s Skin Issues

Alistaire turned 6 months old yesterday:

I can’t believe that much time has gone by already. 6 months? He is a big boy, he was 28″ long and 19 pounds at his checkup and is starting an “army crawl”. He so badly wants to keep up with Walker.

And finally I am seeing a change in his skin. I have mentioned before just how bad his eczema was. It was REALLY bad. I used the prescription ointment his Doctor prescribed just enough to calm his skin down. His face looked sunburnt from the red skin, he always had chapped skin. On his face, neck, head, arms, chest…everywhere.Once I got his skin healed I changed his body wash/shampoo. We were already using Aveno unscented for eczema but even that was too harsh. I was approached My True Nature about their products. At this point I figured I had little to lose – everything else was drying him out.

He has used their Daisy Natural 2 in 1 Shampoo & Body Wash for the past month or so, and what an improvement.

The ingredient list:

“Purified water, aloe leaf juice*, decyl glucoside**, sodium coco sulfate**, lauryl lactyl lactate, plantago extract*, white peony tea extract*, natural scent, citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate *Certified organic and originating from organic farms in California or the Pacific Northwest or **Ecocert product originating from Germany.”



  • All-in-one gentle cleanser & moisturizer for face, hair and body
  • Plant-based, non-irritating cleansers, get your baby squeaky clean without irritating eyes or skin
  • Full of nourishing and calming organic botanicals including olive oil, aloe, and pure essential oils
  • Not tested on animals
  • Completely free of genetically modified organisms, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, triclosan or preservatives
  • 100% recycled and reusable plastic bottle

Previously when he’d get out of his bath his skin was tight and prickly red all over, I would have to apply ointment or lotion over his entire body – and he still looked bad. This was a candid photo on May 28th:

You can see how bad it was – and he was covered in Aquaphor. He would scratch at his head, arms, legs – anywhere he could reach.

A month ago he looked better:

Still had the red patches around his mouth though.

Now after I bathe him on most days his skin looks great. I only to use the prescription ointment 2 or so times a week, instead of 2X a day!

And I love their Clio’s Beary Soft Lotion:

No scent outside of the natural scents of the ingredients. I’ve mentioned before how most lotions/sunblock and makeup cause me to itch all over/minor hives. This lotion spreads easily, isn’t greasy and my skin feels great. The trial size “travel bottle” fits in my purse and backpack nicely, letting me carry it. I have used it on both Alistaire and Walker as well. Smooth skin like a baby should have!

The ingredient list?

“Purified water, aloe leaf juice*, shae butter*, sunflower oil* infused with calendula*, comfrey*, plantain*, chickweed*, St. John’s wort*, chamomile* & yarrow root*, behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetearyl alcohol, bees wax*, hydrolyzed oat flour*, guar gum, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate

*Certified organic ingredient from organic farm in California or the Pacific Northwest.

Most of our ingredients are locally sourced from organic farms in California and the Pacific Northwest.  Those ingredients that are not produced locally come from Germany.

Our bottles are made from 100% FDA-APPROVED RECYCLED PET plastic.  Our pumps, caps and bottles are all BPA free and manufactured in the USA”

And considering the products work….I can say I like them! Truth be told I am considering trying the shampoo/body wash on myself, I have a feeling I will love it. Small business and cruelty free? An even sweeter deal.


FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.

Our Weekend Breads & Well, The Weekend!

Someday soon I really hope summer will visit us, for an extended period! Today it is sunny and gorgeous, a teaser of what we might get. And yesterday, Sunday, wasn’t that bad either! The kids kept me busy when I wasn’t in the kitchen making meals.

Walker smiling big:

In a happy mood:

Playing with the kayaks – it was an odd weekend, almost no one out on our lake! A wonderful weekend for paddling, Kirk got out twice –

The littlest one had his 4 month appointment this morning. My boys are not small. Alistaire was 26.5 inches tall and nearly 17 lbs…which explains why he wears size 9 month clothing at 4 months. Sigh!

Alistaire loves to stand, any chance he can get!

What did I make over the weekend for our daily bread? For Saturday we used up Friday’s loaf. Sunday’s bread was a white & whole wheat bread dotted with curry flavored sprouted sunflower seeds. Monday’s bread was more stade, a simple honey bread.

White & Whole Wheat Sunflower Bread


  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1½ Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ Tbsp dry milk
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, preferably organic
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 3 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds (shelled) (used Kaia/Kaya sprouted curry)


Add the ingredients as listed to a bread machine pan, with yeast on top, reserve the sunflower seeds. Set for a 1½ lb loaf white bread, medium crust. During the mixing and first kneading watch the dough for needing a spoonful more flour. Once the dough has mixed, add in the sunflower seeds.

Once baked, remove promptly and knock out, let cool on a wire rack before slicing. Store wrapped, use within a day or two for best results.

This loaf rose quite tall for a 1½ lb loaf, if your machine only goes that big and not to a 2 lb loaf, I wouldn’t recommend it. It worked fine in mine though, just barely below the lid once baked though.

Honey White & Whole Wheat Bread


  • 1¼ cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp neutral oil, such as sunflower
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Vital Wheat Gluten Flour
  • 1½ tsp dry active yeast


Add in order listed to your bread machine pan. Set for a 1½ lb whole wheat loaf, medium crust. Once baked, remove promptly, cool on a wire rack.


Babies, Gardens and Raw Brownies

Raw brownies? Oh yes. So good even the Toddler wouldn’t leave me alone. Make sure they sit overnight in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld together, let come to room temperature before eating (although they taste great cold also, I found they get even more chocolate tasting when warmed up and soft….) Recipe is at the bottom, I get to bore you first with my kids & garden!


Alistaire turns 3 months today. It is going by so fast! The outfit he has on today, Walker wore when he was 4½ months old and it is already snug on Alistaire. He could be my biggest boy!

Walker has helped me in the yards, working on spring cleaning and shopping for new plants to add as well! We went plant shopping on Sunday and came home with 7 new blueberry plants, strawberry plants and some herbs. I found that I lost 4 herb plants over the winter this year. A bummer but it was a cold one so not a big surprise.

Last year Walker and I added many more blueberry plants to an old raised bed on one side of the back yard, they are all doing well. We went through and spruced up things (there is much more added now, after this photo was taken):

He sees the blueberries as “his”!

I decided to finally add plants to flank the back porch:

We transplanted two rosemary bushes that were about 3 years old:

Then added 3 blueberry plants:

Ford and Walker cleaning up the far back, I got them to clean out the yard gear shack and get it organized:

Alistaire enjoying being out in the sun – the weather has been great the past few days:

Another view of the back porch – on the left I planted 4 Pink Lemonade blueberry plants:

What started it all? When we bought the house it came with this patch in the far back – a smattering of blueberries and rhubarb. Seeing how happy Walker was in the bushes led me to plant more. Many more. We were at 27 plants on Sunday. Heh! Yes, we love blueberries. Especially with alpine strawberries growing under said bushes…and rhubarb! (Which I hope to harvest this week)

Back at the shack Ford was locked inside and Walker was trying to break in 😉

Then on Monday the Toddler and Baby went plant shopping again with Mommy. Walker picked out 6 more strawberry plants to bring home and I found red huckleberry plants (I had to suppress squealing lest strangers think “what an idiot”). I need to dig holes for the huckleberries today, hopefully after nap time! I came to the conclusion last year that unless it produces edible things, it doesn’t get planted. I want the backyard to be an oasis for the kids as they grow up. And also so they can garden with me. And more blueberries planted may mean I actually get to eat some…since Walker beats me to them!

More photos to come, as everything fills out.

Now onto those delicious raw brownies!

Raw Brownies


  • ¼ cup raw walnut pieces
  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • 2 cups pitted Medjool dates (about 20)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder


Add the nuts to a food processor bowl, process until finely chopped. Knock out into a small bowl, set aside.

Add the dates and process until a paste forms, add the nuts and remaining ingredients, process on high until a ball forms and the texture is as fine as you like.

Line an 8×8″ baking dish with plastic wrap, with enough extra to hang over the sides. Scrape the mixture out of the bowl into the lined dish. Pat out with a spatula, then cover with the over hanging plastic wrap and pat/press smooth till they fill the pan evenly. Chill overnight in the refrigerator, cut into bars and wrap each bar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. For best taste, let warm up to room temperature before eating.

I cut ours into 8 bars.


Eggroll Crackers

This little boy loves crunchy, crispy nibbles (especially after going to the library!):

This little man maybe not so (he turned 12 weeks today!)

So what did I make?Well….

Leftover eggroll wrappers? Wonton wrappers? Do you end up tossing them into the yard waste bin way too often? Make them into quick crackers – that are crispy and crunchy.

Baking time will depend on your oven – I wanted mine dark and crunchy, for paler crackers cut it back by 1 to 2 minutes.

Eggroll Crackers


  • eggroll or wonton wrappers
  • cooking spray
  • spices/salt/pepper


If using eggroll wrappers cut in half and then into thirds, wonton wrappers cut in half.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray liberally with cooking spray.

Spread the wrappers in a single layer (you may need more than one sheet depending on how many you make). Spray liberally with cooking spray on top, then sprinkle spices as you desire. I did chili powder on half, salt & pepper on the remaining ones.

Bake for 5 to 8 minutes (8 for dark). Transfer to cooling racks, store in an airtight container to keep fresh/crispy.


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