A Season of Changes

This has been a month of change for both girls. No longer do my girls look like this between the hours of 1 and 4pm.

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That is right, we said goodbye to the pacifier for Moira and naps for Liesel. Both happened rather sudden and both have been an adjustment for the Statler household.

The first change was naps for Liesel. A little back story. Naps and a schedule have been a driving force for me as a mother and most importantly a mother of two! I think it was within the first two weeks of Moira joining our family that I made it a priority for BOTH girls to nap at least once a day TOGETHER. And I can honestly say, they did almost everyday for almost two years! It was the one point during the day I never wavered on. Somewhere between 1 and 4 both girls would nap. And mommy had time to recharge! I knew someday these hours of bliss would fade away and I dreaded that day!

During the summer both Eric and I began to feel that nap time for Liesel was on the outs. For starters bedtime became a struggle. That may be an understatement. Some nights she would not fall asleep until nearly 9:30!! It didn’t help that it stayed light for so long, but nonetheless, we knew something had to give. We also noticed that days when she would miss a nap she would not fall apart.

It wasn’t until this fall that I decided to take the plunge and implement the dreaded quiet time . To my surprise I have actually loved it! Liesel still naps once or twice a week but other than that she takes about an hour and a half quiet time each day. We let her take this time in our room as not to disturb MJ. For the first hour or so Liesel is allowed to take two book boxes and a few stuffed animals into our bed. She must stay in the bed and look at them quietly.

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During this time I’m still able to keep up with my chores, budgeting or bloggingšŸ˜ƒ. Then for the last 20minutes Liesel is able to have some iPad time in our bed. It is then that I take a quick and oh so needed cat nap beside her! Since Moira naps anywhere from 2-3 hours, L and I are able to enjoy some time just the two of us for the remainder of nap time. Like I said it has been an adjustment, but a good one! On days that Liesel takes a QT both girls are in bed and asleep effortlessly before 8! Amazing! I think the only person that has taken this new system hard has been Moira. Since March both girls have napped and gone to bed together. The first week or so of QT Moira would get teary-eyed and call out for big sis. I think she missed her roommate and she also wondered what kind of fun Liesel was up tošŸ˜ƒ

Our second big change was giving up the paci for Moira. Since about May Moira has only had her pacifier during naps and bed. But boy would she look forward to having it!! The smile on her face when she would get it was priceless, this little one loved her paci. Perhaps too much.

We knew we wanted her to be paci free before we switched her to a big girl bed, and with baby only weeks away we figured now was as good a time as any. Back in September we attempted to take it away and failed-miserably! You see, from day one Moira has been a parents dream to put to bed. Never crying, almost reaching for bed each night. We never had to do any sort of CIO with her, she never needed it. However, in September our easy-go to bed-baby disappeared. The first night of no paci was terrible! She cried and pleaded for it for almost 30minutes. She then proceeded to wake up two hours later begging again for it. Finally at about 1am during another plea for the pacifier, Eric and I decided it wasn’t worth it and gave it back to her.

A little over a week ago we decided to give it another try. It seemed she was getting more and more attached to it and we wanted to break this habit sooner rather than later. To our shock this time around has gone amazingly well!! The first night she called for it, but there were barely any tears at all! She also stayed asleep until the morning without it. The next night was even easier. She asked once for it during prayers and that was it! So proud of her. Sure she asks for it from time to time, but she seems completely satisfied with our you don’t need that, you’re a big girl answer. I do have to admit I miss her little sleeping face with a paci in her mouth. I miss her little smiles through it and especially her little slurred words. But I know she was ready. She is a big sister after all!

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Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Soup

Wow, cannot believe it’s already the end of October!! Time is absolutely flying. This morning on the drive to take Liesel to school my car said 30 degrees! So. Not. Ready. For. This. However, the plus side to this colder weather is 1.) being able to utilize our wood burning fireplace

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While back in Michigan a few weekends ago my mom sent us home with some butternut squash, fresh from her garden. I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to make a delicious batch of butternut squash soup. Today was the day! I had never attempted this soup before and honestly didn’t really know if I even liked butternut squash soup, but I thought I’d give it a try. I had found a recipe on Pinterest that seemed like the flavors I was looking for. It mixed the sweetness of the squash and apples with the savory flavors of sage and onions. I am so glad I tried it. You guys, this recipe was delicious! One I will be keeping and making over and over! It was the perfect warmth on this cool fall day.

Ingredients
1 medium butternut squash
2TB unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 apple peeled and diced
4 fresh sage leaves chopped
1 1/4c water
1 1/4c chicken broth
1/4tsp white pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
1/3c heavy cream
Sour cream

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Half your squash lengthwise and place it, cut side up, on an aluminum lined baking sheet. Place a 1/2 a tablespoon of butter on each half and season with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven until fork tender, about an hour.

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While your squash is cooking dice and peel onion and apple. I used a Jonathan apple because it is neither too sweet or tart.

20131022-195250.jpg. Melt your remaining tablespoon of butter in a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add apples and onions. Cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Around minute 4 I added in sage, salt and pepper. Once apples and onions are fully cooked remove from heat.

Now to add in the squash. Once your squash is fully cooked and cooled ( enough to be handled), spoon out the insides into apple mixture. Return pot to a medium-high heated burner and add in water and broth. Cook until mixture reaches an even boil, then turn burner down to a medium-low simmer. Continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to break up squash chunks. Once your soup is finished cooking, remove from burner and slowly stir in cream.

Using a blender, cream your soup into a nice smooth consistency. I divided the soup into three parts as to allow for an even mixing. It is also best to remove small plastic top from your blender as to allow steam to be released and cover hole with a kitchen towel.

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Now that your soup is nicely blended, it is time to enjoy every bite! I added just a dollop of sour cream to each bowl. Bon Appetit!!

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Smells of Fall

One of my favorite things about fall ( or autumn, as Eric so desperately wants us only to refer to it…) is the smells! I can always tell when we are in the heart of the season because of the rich fallen leaf aroma when the girls and I are out for a walk. I love getting to use my pumpkin spice and apple spice scents in the home. It really makes the house feel cozy! But perhaps my absolute favorite smell of fall is that of applesauce cooking on the stove or in the crockpot! Mmm, nothing better.

Growing up we always made applesauce in the fall. It’s an excellent way to use freshly picked apples, and it is oh so delicious! Due to the poor growing season last year we were unable to make some, so this year we have been trying our best to make up for it! Currently I have made four batches of amazing homemade applesauce. My girls devour the stuff! Not only do they eat it every morning on their oatmeal but it is also the perfect after dinner treat. We love our sauce and you will too! Here is the ever so simple homemade applesauce recipe:

ingredients
10-15 apples
1/2c water
Cinnamon to taste

This year we have been to the apple orchard four times. We have picked cortland, red delicious, golden delicious, and Jonathan. For my applesauce I use any combination of the four kinds. It’s nice to have both sweet and sour apples in the sauce. Rarely do I make applesauce using only one kind of apple, but you absolutely can! Once you have picked your 10-15 apples, peel, core and slice them. Then pour apples into crockpot. You may need to add or take away the amount of apples depending on the size of your pot.

Pour water over top of apples and sprinkle with cinnamon. I use quite a bit because we really love cinnamon over here.

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Then cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Stirring every hour or so. Once your applesauce is fully cooked you can place it in a processor to ensure a super smooth consistency. We like ours with some chunkiness to it, so I simply take a potato masher to the apples.

After your applesauce is at the desired consistency pour it into mason jars.

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There you have it, a simple fall recipe that will have your house smelling delicious and your family begging for more!!