Monday, May 19, 2014

Easy, Fluffy, Egg-free, Eggless Homemade Pancake Recipe

Life is Good: especially on the weekends

We spent the day raking and reseeding both of our lawns yesterday. Well, in between chasing kids, that is. It was a beautiful, sunny day that we really needed after such a long winter in Minnesota and a wet, chilly spring. But when it came to making dinner, I sighed. I was a bit pooped. So what was something super easy that I could make to satisfy my brood? Something I hardly ever make at all...breakfast for dinner!

Turkey bacon, turkey sausage links (do you sense a theme here?) and my own eggless, fluff-alicious pancake recipe. Oh, I hear the groans. What is it about cooking and baking from scratch that makes some people recoil? Seriously, this recipe is just as easy as puling the pre-made mix out of the cupboard, measuring it out, adding liquid and an egg. Wait, my recipe might be easier! Truly, every recipe is hardest the first time you make it, but this one truly is simple. Here it is:

Susie's Eggless Pancake Mix
(adapted from this recipe)
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted (you don't have to, but it makes them fluffier)
7 teaspoons baking powder, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I like Pink Himalayan)
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 cups milk (I use organic whole)
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup (heaping over) applesauce (I use organic, no sugar added)
1 Tablespoon vanilla (I prefer Madagascar)

1. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of baking powder into the applesauce and set aside. This will mimic 2 beaten eggs in the recipe.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour (or at least distribute evenly), SIX teaspoons of baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
3. Pour milk, vanilla, and melted butter into dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Add applesauce mixture and mix well.
5. Oil (or butter) a griddle or fry pan. When heated, use a Tablespoon to measure out your pancakes. These are fluffy pancakes, so they need a lower heat and longer on the griddle to cook all the way through. Use the first couple of pancakes to experiment how long it takes on each side to cook all the way through without scorching the outside of the pancake. For me, it takes a couple of minutes on each side with a medium heat on my gas stove.
6. Serve with real maple syrup--and top with some fruit, if you want--and enjoy!

This recipe makes between 24-30 half dollar-sized pancakes. Add-ins to the batter like bananas or blueberries or a teaspoon of cinnamon make for an extra yummy pancake!

Friday, May 16, 2014

How to talk so your kids listen

Life is Good: thanks be to God!


Grant and I have found ourselves giggling through our dinner prayers lately. Luckily, I think God has a sense of humor. See, we have each child say a short prayer before one of us says grace before we eat. A few weeks ago, after it became apparent that the big kid was reciting the same "Thank you, God for this food. Thank you, God for this family." prayer over and over, I asked the children to say a prayer and "speak from your heart".  This proved to be the right words for the moment. The big kid was grateful for something that happened that day and a few other things "from his heart". I was relieved. I don't want my children just to repeat rituals. I want them to grow a relationship with God. And I think much of this comes from prayer, which I refer to as "talking to God". It doesn't have to be formal or articulate or perfect. Just an on-going conversation with Him, our Great Creator. The One who made us and loves us beyond words.

So what's funny about that? Nothing. However, the giggles started when the little one prayed. "Dear Lord, thank you for daddy going to work. And brother going to school. And for mommy and me here at home together. Amen." Grant and I both raised our heads, opened our eyes and smirked at each other. Yes, thank you that daddy went to work and left mommy and the little one at home together. Yes, thank you that daddy and big brother went away today. It was hard not to bust out laughing. I know he didn't mean it the way it sounded, but it sounded like the little one was so glad to be rid of daddy and brother for the day!

In actuality, he was showing gratitude for daddy's job, that big brother has a wonderful school with kind, skilled teachers, and that mommy's career is flexible enough that mama and the little one can spend most of their days together. He was, in fact, repeating what he had heard often--Grant's and my prayers of thanksgiving that God has made this all possible for us.

And so, he repeats this "prayer from your heart" quite often now and we continue to giggle just a little. He'll learn to articulate things some day soon enough.

If you ever want to know what words you use too much or just how you speak in general, listen to your kids. They are little sponges with playback recording devices. They are our mirrors. If you don't like how your kid is acting, adjust your attitude and see what happens. We were playing with various Schleich animals, Playmobil people, baseball guys, and aliens the other day and Grant asked the little one the names of his "family". Daddy was "Grant" and mama was "Honey". One of them fell out of the car they were driving and the other asked, "Are you okay? I kiss it where it hurts?" The answer was, "Why yes, please! Thank you! I lub you." We grinned at each other. And then sighed with relief. Phew! If your kid is going to imitate you there are worse things than being called "honey" and showing love and care! Along with his "prayer from the heart", this was also a good reminder that we are the example. These kiddos are listening and watching and then taking what they learn out into the world. Think about that a little while and it will make you feel like kind of a big deal. I mean, really. We parents are shaping the world, one little person at a time. Want to create world peace? It starts between you and me. In our home. With our children. Who will then go out into the world and share your messages with others. Oh, the pressure. Do your shoulders feel heavy? The good news is that you are only responsible for yourself and your family. And the actions and events of today. You can worry about tomorrow, well, tomorrow.

My little mirror is starting to wake up from his nap. I think I'll go up and give him a good example of love and happiness. I hope you get a good dose of the same today, too!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Thoughts on Mother's Day

Life is Good: thanks to our mamas

Happy Mother's Day! You can give birth and be a mother, but it takes a lot more to be a mama. And I hit the jackpot when God chose my mom to be my mama. God knew that my talkative, dramatic, idea-filled, bubbly, brain with no off button, worse yet, mouth with no off button, imaginative, sensitive, reactionary, did I say talkative? self needed a calm, wise, supportive mother. And my mom is. She is our family's rock. She is understanding and forgiving (almost to a fault). She is the first to offer a listening ear. She is the last to make judgements or cast stones. I have watched her turn the other cheek. And then turn the other cheek. Again and again. She is the glue and the foundation of our immediate family. You've heard of yin and yang? Well, she is the yin to my dad's boisterous yang, for sure. She is the helper, the nurse, the teacher, the peacemaker. She brims with unconditional love.

I love this pic above from my wedding. My mom is a prim, proper, reserved, shy, ladylike kind of lady. But she lets loose (a tad) when she dances. I can see the sheer joy in this photo. My parents love to dance together. There was a time when they hurried off to dance lessons every Friday night when I was a kid. I love watching them dance. They are light on their feet and effortless. You can see them both beam to the music. It is precious to me.

It is hard for me, the one of too many words, to find just a few to sum up how I feel about my mom or who she is to me or what she means to me. She is simply everything. She is not perfect. But neither am I. She is not always articulate with her words. She often wants to "fix it" when I just want her to listen. And she still thinks I should wear mini skirts like I wore in high school. There are worse things, right? And this is just one of the fine lessons that she has taught me. To be gentle with people. To accept them for who they are. To understand that we all are wired a little differently. And to be true to yourself and honest about yourself---flaws and all. And she uses this rule with me, too. She will never pretend that I am perfect or try to make the world think so. Keeping up appearances, putting on airs, or trying to be something she is/we are not has never been her goal. And I appreciate that. It means that she tells me when she disagrees. And she tells me when she is disappointed. And oh, how that kills me. Cuts me to the bone. Oh, how I do not want to disappoint my mom. But it also helps me. It keeps me humble. It keeps me honest. And that keeps the pressure off. Really. Trying to be the best me is hard enough. Imagine if you were raised to believe you had to be the best public version of what your family has pretended you are. Man, I can't even type that sentence correctly. I can't make sense of that at all.

I know women who think they have to be a "mama bear"--you mess with my kid, you mess with me. But what if your kid was in the wrong? And then you go all mama bear on someone? What message does that send? I know mothers who can't hear the eensy weensiest negative thing about their grown child without flipping their lid. Really? How about admitting that they are a grown up and they are imperfect? It'll make you happier and I bet, them, too. I don't have to worry about that with my mom. And I am glad for it. No doubt, she adores me. No doubt, if given the opportunity, she will go on and on about the silly little things I am up to. And on. She likes who I am. She likes who I am trying to be. She loves me. She is proud of me. She tells me that and I feel it. I know it in my heart. But the honest, real person she is has created an honest, real relationship with me and that has encouraged me to go out and do the same. That is how I am living my life. And that is how I am raising my children. We are not perfect. We don't have all of the answers. We are doing our best. And with God's help, we are making it through each day with smiles on our faces and love in our hearts and the world can see that...along with all of our flaws, too.

My mom also taught me the love of family and the beauty and gift of motherhood. She taught me that you can suffer great loss and somehow, remain. She taught me that all things are possible with God. Sure, there were times when I was a teenager that she showed her faith a little too loudly and early for my tastes---waking me up singing hymns while playing her antique pipe organ (subtle, not passive aggressive at all, mom), but I am grateful to have grown up living in a house with a woman who lived her faith. She expressed it through music and her words, through the ever-presence of the bible, and through her daily actions of love and forgiveness.

I get my love of cooking and baking from my mom (and her mom). I get my can-do attitude from her, too. I love flowers and koi fish and making stuff because of her. And I love a clean house. This is most likely due to being raised by a woman who once called me on the phone to say, "Oh, I wish you could see how clean my sink is. It is shining. It is just beautiful." Like I said, she isn't perfect, but she is perfect for me.

My mom recently had a scare with a dangerous bacterial infection. It came on suddenly and looked grim at times. She's had a long, hard recovery that isn't over. To say that I have been scared and stressed about this is the ultimate understatement. The thought of not being able to call or Skype her to tell her that the little one has been walking around saying, "I'm handsome!" all day, or that he wrapped himself up in a blanket like a burrito and claimed to be the Baby Jesus, or to ask her opinion about whether a bump on the head warrants a trip to the ER and countless other things makes me want to... crumble. Absolutely. Crumble. But it also makes me grateful. And thankful. And it serves as a reminder to savor each moment and enjoy each exchange. Even if it is about the weather (another thing she lovvvvvvves to talk about) or how clean her sink is. ; )

I must admit, I poo poo this holiday a little. I call it a "Hallmark holiday". Simply because I hope that I show my love for my mom everyday. I hope she knows it and feels it each day of the week. And I hope I never need a card company's invention to remind me to honor her. So on Mother's Day and everyday, I cherish you, mom. You are a treasure. You are a gift. You are the perfect imperfect mama for imperfectly imperfect me.

Happy Mother's Day,

Monday, May 5, 2014


Life is Good: and brimming over!

Today is officially the end of what we call "Celebrationpalooza" at our house! For about a month, we celebrate a couple of birthdays, our anniversary, Easter, and more! Phew. It was a good, fun time, but I am a bit pooped!

Because I try to stay "in the moment", I am overdue to reply to quite a few emails. And I apologize if one of them is yours. If you emailed me at, thank you! I always appreciate your comments, facebook likes and posts, and emails. I will answer your email quickly this week! I promise!

Many of the emails were asking where I have been and why I haven't been posting as much. I kind of took Lent off to study "forgiveness". I am so glad that I did. I learned a lot. I am trying to decide if I should write about it. I know there are things I want to express to my kids. I just don't know if anyone else wants to hear about it! : ) And as I mentioned, since Easter, I have been giving every second to these trampoline, science, Easter, anniversary, husband-who-like-to-eat celebrations and there just hasn't been a millisecond to blog about it or anything else! But I will soon! I don't know if you should consider that a threat or a promise! ; )

Thanks, again, to everyone who emailed me and also to everyone who reads this little blog. I continue to be amazed that anyone besides my mom is interested! : )

Happy Monday!