old tricks, new tricks

Beatrix is up to her old tricks.  The blue washed off, but then last night just before bed she appeared with a black beard and moustache-io (as she called it).  She also took a red crayon to the grout in the kitchen.  I think she’s getting stir crazy and we are only one month into winter.

I already mentioned that I need a haircut, and Beatrix is considering a bob (like this, and maybe with bangs again?) so I called today to make appointments for us with the girl who has been cutting my hair for about four years.  I’ve never been 100% happy with my cuts, but I think that’s more about my hair than the stylist.  Anyway, I was told that she is GONE.  GONE!  They offered to set me up with someone else, but no way.  After hanging up and explaining why I didn’t make our appointments, Beatrix told me that I should “try new people just like you should try new foods.”

Job has become a nonstop drooler.  I’ve never had a baby drool so much and so early.  I have to keep a bib on him all the time.  It also appears that he may become a thumb sucker.  I’ve never had a thumb sucker before either and I guess it’s not generally considered a good thing, but it’s so cute when he puts his little thumb in his mouth and curls that first finger over his nose.

Most of us have been struck with colds this week, even little Job, although he is handling it well.  My Mountain Rose order arrived just in time with dried elderberries for making elderberry syrup.  It’s so easy and economical to make your own (this recipe), and really necessary if you are giving it to a large houseful of sick people and don’t want to go broke buying bottles of it.

I’ve made several batches of Amanda’s leftover oatmeal muffins recently, substituting gluten free flour and adding cranberries, apples, walnuts and raisins.  They’re good!

I also braved a little baking with Silas and Beatrix yesterday.  They needed an afternoon snack and I wanted to make something yummy, but not super sugary and they were in the mood for adding ingredients.  We ended up making carob oatmeal cookies.  The result was a chewy, not too sweet cookie that my kids all loved.  I really like carob, always have because my mom fed it to me instead of cocoa when I was little.  My kids like it too, despite the fact that they are no strangers to chocolate.  Anyway, I guess you could substitute cocoa if you don’t like carob.

Carob Oatmeal Cookies:  1 1/3 cup flour (we used a gluten free flour mix), 1/2 cup sugar (we used sucanat), 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup carob powder, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 eggs beaten, 1/4 cup milk or water, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix wet ingredients in another bowl, adding the melted/cooled butter last.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix.  Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Makes about two dozen cookies.

p.s.  Silas’ sweater is this one.

(the Mountain Rose links are affiliate links)


  1. Job looks so much like Johnny!!

  2. Hello Ginny!
    I greet you from Hungary, the origin-country of your ordered elderberries! Do you know where it is? A little country with 10 million inhabitants in the heart of the Carpathian mountains.
    I’m a permanent reader of your great blog, thank you for the photos, recipes, knitwear and everything. It does inspire me in our everyday family life with my great husband, 4 daughters, 2 cats.
    Thank you! Have a lot of healing hungarian elderberry syrup!

  3. The drooling made me giggle. My last was the same. His big sibling said he was like a snail when he learned to crawl…. leaving a trail wherever he went. They thought this was *so* funny.
    So good that you are making elder syrup. It’s so much more economical to diy!! Did you see our recipe? I love the ginger in it. My youngest doesn’t love it so much, but my other three do. He still drinks it. He says to me “mom, your syrup is weird. but my body tells me i like it. so i just drink it anyway.” I guess that’s a compliment? Here is a link to our recipe if you want to take a peek : http://www.gypsyforest.com/welcome_to_gypsy_forest/2013/12/our-elderberry-syrup.html

  4. As usual so cute pictures! My brother was a drooling baby too. My mum always dressed him with a big army kershief from my dad when at home and a nice colorful bandana around the neck when we went out rather than a bib. It means a big more cloths around the neck to drool through and it keeps the neck warm in winter.

  5. I just wanted to drop by and tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I check back often and look forward to your adventures in homeschooling. I am going to start homeschooling my little boy next year and my baby is the same age as your Job. My baby is quite the drooler already and also a thumb sucker. He was 10 lbs 15 ozs at birth so I certainly identified with your tough labor as well. Thank you for being an encouragement to everyone who comes across your blog.

  6. We have been taking elderberry syrup in my house for colds this week. Do you give it to the baby? My twins are four months old and I can’t seem to find any information about giving it to infants. My syrup is honey free but I’m still wondering about usage, dosage etc? Thanks,

  7. I always love your hair! Funny how we are never satisfied with what has been given to us, I gave wavy hair and straighten it with flat irons!

    One of mine was a thumb sucker and grew out of it buy the time she was three and as for Bea she is a scamp! Mind you a very wise one, I loved her rendition of hairdressers and new foods, so funny.

    San x

  8. Oh how I’ve missed photos of Beatrice’s beautifully decorated face and arms! She is fantastic!

  9. I *know* we’re supposed to dread thumb sucking, but in truth, my 6th little one did it and he was such a content baby! He loved people watching, and was so amazingly serene and able to handle the inevitable chaos of large family living. He also broke the habit quite easily nearly on his own when he was 3.5. My two babes since have not been nearly so into self soothing, and people are always shocked when I tell them that I *wish* they sucked their thumbs!

  10. Oh my, does Job ever look like Jonny in that picture! Love the wisdom that Beatrix offers up (new foods, new people); when I couldn’t find something the other day, my five year old told me that I “just need to look more carefully” 🙂

    Elderberry syrup, yes–have been meaning to do something about that; thanks for linking to the recipe!

  11. Baby Job looks so wise for his years in that pic!

  12. I wouldn’t worry about the thumb-sucking… it’s just a natural self-comfort and he’ll grow out of it when he needs to! 🙂 I so enjoy your photos of your family!

  13. Thanks for the recipes and website. Is that a percolator you use? For coffee, hot water, or both? Plug-in or stove-top? Tia.

    • It’s a stovetop percolator that we use for coffee. We aren’t every day coffee drinkers–well actually I gave it up entirely after Job was born, and the percolator works well for us.

      • Thanks, Ginny. I’ve been looking for an electric tea kettle that is all-metal inside. It’s been an impossible pursuit, so far! I’ve considered using a percolator.

  14. The muffins look so good! yum 🙂 x

  15. Love the pictures.

  16. Thanks for the receipes. The muffins are just what we need this weekend. My daughter is in her second year of art school now, and she still always has ink all over her hands and face. Enjoy it!

  17. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for the elderberry recipe link. Also, which gluten free flour do you use? I have a child with a severe wheat allergy and I haven’t lucked upon a flour she likes yet.

    • I have been experimenting lately with Namaste gluten free flour (found it at Costco) with mixed results, and sometimes I make my own mixes using recipes from gluten free cookbooks.

  18. I’ve been feeling a little discontented today thinking I “should” be able to keep up with child “projects”, feeling the lack of control.:) Your Beatrix story reminds me this is normal, life is good…. children are a blessing. I’m not sure you felt that the red crayon in the grout was a blessing… but I did:) Blessings. You have a precious family. I so appreciate you sharing your life!

  19. i’m so happy to see a recipe for homemade elderberry syrup. $25 for a tiny bottle, though effective, is too much! i will certainly look into doing it your way. maybe 1/2 cup honey …. good honey is expensive and i use it in nearly everything it seems! the muffins look YUM> what GF flour are you using? i don’t need to be GF but sometimes I like to eat less grains. I don’t like most GF flours i’ve tried.

  20. I was an incessant thumb-sucker as a child through first grade. My mouth turned out fine, although I do still find myself with a pinky finger in the side of my cheek when I’m reading or concentrating….I also drool when I sleep, which is quite embarrassing as an adult, I guess! I think little ones who suck their thumb are just naturally soothing themselves & what can be wrong with that? 🙂 Love the photo of the kiddos outside building in the snow.

  21. Silas’ sweater is just adorable!

    My two year old has been coloring on anything he chooses lately. Thank the Lord no one leaves permanent markers laying around!

  22. Don’t worry about the thumb sucker. He is comforting himself and will probably grow out of it. I had 1 1/2 pacifier suckers. The 1/2 is because my daughter only used it because her big brother did. The dentist told my son at age 3 that he had to stop and that was that. No more “binkies” in the family. My daughter had to be just like her brother. Incidently, Job is adorable.

  23. Stephanie says:

    Everyone looks great in their sweaters and you have a color theme going on between the 3 of you. 😉 I don’t make oatmeal much, but the muffins sound good. I’m slightly dreading the messy toddler days ahead, sigh. (sjn821)

  24. Job looks so much like his daddy! Are you going to be getting that Polar Vortex weather? It seems like where you are the winters are fairly mild and end early.

    • Yes, we have the polar vortex weather!! I hate it!!!! Tomorrow is going to be really cold, but today we had a mild day in the 40s. So it was nice to have a break from the cold!

  25. I totally understand about hairdressers, I moved from VA to Colorado about a year ago. I had one in VA and loved her, she knew what I want, she was perfect. So I haven’t had a haircut in about a year…

  26. Oh the fun times. Inhale them and go slowly for one day they will all be gone. The wet snow clothes, the messy, dirty hands and silly mustache-ios. You are living in the best of times.

  27. Col photos, cheers Marie

  28. what are your favorite gluten-free flours. We are still pretty new to gluten-free and I will take any advice! We are still using spelt for our sourdough bread, which doesn’t seem to bother anybody. I use the same recipe for Elderberry Syrup as well. I don’t use the whole cup of honey either. This year I added a little ACV to have it last longer and add extra health benefits.

    • I let my spelt sourdough starter die around the time Job was born 🙁 I need to start another. I have been experimenting lately with Namaste gluten free flour (found it at Costco) with mixed results. I’ve also used Pamela’s mix. There are some good recipes for basic mixes in a couple of cookbooks such as Gluten Free Baking Classics, and Cooking for Isaiah. I have a hard time with it because we weren’t eaters of white flour much before eliminating gluten for myself and my son Seth, but gluten free flours seem just as bad for you!

      • the same here. We weren’t eating much white flour as well. I haven’t found a super great mix yet, that’s why I thought I ask. I’ve made my own out of sorghum, brown rice, tapioca starch and sweet potato flour. We really like buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum and coconut flour. I try not to use to many starches, but if I do I use either arrowroot powder, tapioca or sweet potato flour. Let me know how you like the Costco mix. I might buy some. We will be going overseas for 6 weeks and I thought, I’ll grab the Namaste gluten free flour mix to take with me. Have you tried Bob’s Red Mill? If yes, do you like it better than Pamela’s? Thanks so much for your input!

        • I think the Bob’s Red Mill tastes bad–too strongly of chickpea flour. I don’t like the flavor of it at all 🙁 I think it’s really important with the Namaste that you don’t over mix it. It tends to produce gummy baked goods if you do.

  29. I love that Beatrix is still up to her old tricks. Not that you have to clean it up, mind, but it warms my heart a bit to see her doing the same crazy things Julia does. If they’re not age-appropriate, at least there is another girl her age who does them… Have a lovely weekend! xo

  30. I “GET” why you don;t want to try new hairdresser peoples!
    I’ve such a soft spot for your Beatrix.
    Love Leanne

  31. love these pictures! I was a long time thumb sucker… like for sure after age 7!! My parents were always trying to get me to stop… perhaps it made me more persistent instead? I was born with small teeth that never needed any extra dental work… so I guess I would not be overly worried… 🙂

    It is hard to be stir crazy; and all with colds 🙁 so sorry for this. I will light a candle for you all today in my kitchen icon (and plants) shelf!

    I always love reading your updates! Blessings to you!!!

  32. oh- and I wondered the same thing about silas’ sweater.

  33. thumb sucking is so cute!! we had one thumb sucker and a finger sucker and several paci suckers. our youngest doesn’t suck anything and he is our LOUDEST baby. some would say it’s because he’s just trying to be heard around here, but i think it’s because he wants his mouth to be busy with something and he’d rather yell than suck. we sure did try to get him to take a paci or a thumb or something. in fact once in awhile he finds a paci and kind of plays with sucking on it and it is so cute 🙂 we’ve only had a hard time with one of our kids giving up the sucking- she’s 8 and STILL sucks her finger in her sleep sometimes – not so cute anymore!

    for the cookies would you use the same amount of cocoa as the carob?

  34. That is the same recipe we use and it is great, but so darn sweet! I have been adding echinacea root and astragulus this winter for added immune boosters, it changed the taste slightly but has been helpful (I think).

    • That’s funny-I must not have added the full amount of honey (didn’t really measure) because the reason my kids like it is that it isn’t as sweet as the store bought stuff!

  35. I love how the inner artist is Beatrix comes out! If it makes you feel any better I was a thumb sucker. For a long time (till around 4 years old) too. I didn’t end up with crooked teeth or need braces. My brother, who never sucked his thumb, is the one who needed braces! Guess you’ll be knitting up lots of bibs for Job. Enjoy your weekend!

  36. Ginny, I think your reason for liking carob is funny since I dislike it because my mother fed it to me as a child. I used to have a hard time with tofu for the same reason, but I’m getting over it. I like cous cous now, but I had to do some mental hurdles to get to that point. My mom tried so hard to feed me healthy food but I was always sneaking out and buying Doritos and those little foil-capped plastic bottles of colored sugar water.

  37. Two of my five became thumb-suckers, much to my chagrin, having always been made to feel that it was a negative habit. It certainly allowed them to become good sleepers and self-soothers early on, but we did have to help coax the out of the habit around age 6. Both only sucked their thumbs when they had their teddy-bears, their associated sleep item in tow. I would say they’re no worse for the wear, and have also suffered no negative dental consequences either, which I was terribly concerned about.

  38. Thanks for the elderberry syrup recipe. I have been wanting to make my own for quite some time now…you have inspired me to just do it. I need to be ready for when the winter colds and viruses hit our household. I hope you are all feeling better soon.

  39. Beatrix will be an artist one day, just you wait and see! Poor Job with the drooling, my second child started teething very very early as well as cut teeth at 5 months. Stay warm!

  40. what is Silas wearing? (I mean, what pattern is the green sweater?) thank you!

  41. That’s the exact recipe I used for my elderberry syrup and I thought it was too sweet. What do you think of it? I may try less honey next time.

    • Ours isn’t very sweet, and that’s why my kids prefer it to the store bought stuff that they find too sweet. I guess I didn’t add a full cup of honey? I didn’t really measure.

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