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Posts from ‘February, 2012’

Home again


After a very busy ten days I am home again. Many of you who know us personally know that Nora, Topher, Rob and I drove up to MI two days after little Maddie was born. Nora, Topher, and Rob had to drive back on Sunday for school and work the following day, but were thankful to be able to visit at least briefly. When we arrived we received the bad news that Megan had developed pre-eclampsia and had to go on a twenty-four hour magnesium drip. This was extremely discouraging for her since she knew what the side effects were and was dreading them. It had to be done and she endured. During that time she could not care for the baby so someone had to be with her. Nora spent two nights with her while she was still there and then Jim spent a couple and I ended up staying one night. Baby Madeleine was actually discharged on Saturday but was allowed to stay on as a "boarder." This meant that the hospital staff would no longer be checking on her or caring for her. Fortunately by that time she was eating and sleeping pretty well and took it all in her stride. 🙂


Meanwhile Megan had some really high blood pressure readings. The doctors did a lot of tests and tried a number of medication combinations before her blood pressure started coming down into a more normal range. She was finally discharged from the hospital a week after Maddie was born. Since returning home she has actually been able to lower her dosages of medication a bit and is regaining strength and energy. We are praising the Lord for a safe delivery, a healthy baby girl, and a mommy who is doing much better.

Drew is a very proud big brother who loves to hold his sweet little sister and to put the dirty diapers in the diaper genie. He is very helpful about telling his mom when the baby is starting to cry. 🙂 I can remember his mom telling me that when her little brother was a baby.


Megan is doing a series of posts on her blog about the new baby. If you would like more details you can check out this post.

Thanks to all who commented after Maddie's birth and those who prayed for her and Megan. We were encouraged and blessed by your prayers and concern.


Becka


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She’s here


Thank you for all your prayers today. Little Madeleine Grace Hawkins was born at 10:48 this morning weighing 7 lbs. 6 oz. Mother and baby are doing very well. Megan said everything went perfectly. They even let her hold the baby before they finished stitching her up. The Lord has blessed us with a wonderful little Valentine and we can't wait to meet her.

Becka


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Anticipation


We are in a state of anticipation here at our house. Sometime tomorrow morning, February 14th, 2012, our new little grand-daughter will be born. Megan had tests today which indicate that the baby's lungs are well developed so all systems are go for the delivery as scheduled. We would appreciate your prayers for them. I plan to go up to Michigan to help out at the end of the week. I'll try to post pictures ASAP. 🙂

In the meantime I've been cleaning and cooking up some things for Rob to eat while I'm away. Today I made some breads for the freezer. I made some of these delicious Herbed Oatmeal Pan Rolls. They go together quickly and are quite tasty. I also tried this new recipe for English Muffins. This version contains buttermilk and is cooked on the stove top and then finished off in the oven. I liked this method a little better than trying to cook them all the way through in the skillet.

Homemade English Muffins
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups bread flour
4 tsps. yeast
2 Tbsps. sugar
3/4 tsps. salt
2 Tbsps. honey
1 Tbsp. soft butter or margarine
cornmeal for dusting

Warm the buttermilk to 115-120 degrees. Set aside. In mixer bowl combine the whole wheat flour and 1 3/4 cups bread flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add buttermilk, honey, and butter and mix to form a dough that clears the side of the bowl adding the additional flour as necessary. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and dust with cornmeal.
Roll or pat out dough 3/4 inch thick on surface dusted with cornmeal. (I used another piece of parchment.) Cut into rounds with biscuit cutter or a glass or tin can. Transfer rounds to baking sheet. Cover loosely and let rise 45 mins.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat heavy skillet or griddle medium hot and then lightly butter skillet and brown both sides of muffins (about 3 mins. per side.) Place on the prepared baking sheet and then bake 15-20 mins. Cool and then split with a fork.

I'll close with a recent picture of Ryan. He's ten months old and has four teeth now and enjoys cruising around the furniture and chasing one of our cats. I've tried to get a picture of the two of them but they are both just too quick for me to get a good shot.

Becka


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Sunflower cookies


I was rummaging around in my freezer the other day and found some sunflower seeds. That made me think about these cookies which contain another one of my favorites--dried apricots. You need to make these. They are really good!

Sunflower cookies

1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped or snipped
3 Tbsps. water or apple juice
1/2 cup margarine or butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal (dry) (I used old fashioned oats)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, divided

Combine raisins, apricots, and water or juice and microwave on high for one minute. Set aside to cool for about 10 mins. Meanwhile cream margarine or butter and sugars. Add egg. Add baking powder, flour, and oats. Blend. Drain fruit and add to dough along with about half of the sunflower seeds. Shape the dough into 1" balls. Place on cookie sheets and flatten slightly. Press on a few more sunflower seeds. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen delicious cookies.

This shows the raw cookies flattened slightly and topped with a few sunflower seeds:

Becka


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Advice for a beginning quilter


I was chatting with a friend who recently retired and she mentioned that she has been sewing for years but would like to learn to quilt. Her words have been tumbling around in my mind and I thought I would jot down a few ideas for her. I am by no means an expert quilter but will list a few things that I have found to be helpful.

1. Start with a very simple, small project--nothing larger than a baby quilt.

2. Try to choose a pattern with just a few fabrics. If you choose something too complicated it can be overwhelming.
This book by Ursula Reikes is my favorite book for baby quilts:


3. Choose the right batting. I love the needle punched batting that's available just about everywhere now. (Hobby Lobby and Walmart carry it in my area.) This batting is thinner than some I first used and it's so much easier to stitch through with a regular sewing machine.

4. If you are going to quilt your project yourself be sure to purchase a walking foot for your sewing machine. I tried to quilt things in the past when I did not have a walking foot and was disappointed by the puckering on the back of the project. The walking foot has feed dogs on the foot which enables all the layers to go through the machine at the same rate and really helps to eliminate wrinkling and puckering. These feet are rather expensive (about $100 for my machine) but they are worth every penny. Some of the newer machines come with a walking foot.

5. Choose a very simple design for your quilting too. You can stitch in the ditch, use tape to make lines, use clear thread, etc.

6. Don't expect perfection from your first project. Look upon each quilted item as a learning experience. Try a new technique, tip, or tool with each new project. There are many books, classes, and websites which contain a wealth of information to help you learn. I learned a new tip recently about using a post it note as a seam guide:

7. Have fun! Quilting is a wonderful way to express your creativity and to get to play with color, pattern, and fabric.

I surprised myself by already finishing the quilt for my new little grand-daughter. It's not really a baby quilt but it does match the colors in her room. Because of the size I didn't think I would finish quilting it before her arrival this month. I made it from a kit and I used spray adhesive to "baste" the layers together before machine quilting. I followed the directions in the kit and quilted it in rows of straight stitching about 1 1/4" apart. Some rows were horizontal and some were vertical. The quilting went very smoothly and I will definitely try the spray adhesive again.

Here's a picture of little Miss M's quilt:

Would any of you readers who quilt like to add some advice that you think would be helpful for a new quilter?

Becka


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